Books Acquired Recently: Powell’s Edition

I recently visited Oregon for the first time, and as part of my trip made a pilgrimage to Powell’s City of Books. It is a majestic bookshop, the best I have ever been in. I had a limited amount of time there and thus did not have time to explore it fully, but still ended up buying four books, a t-shirt, and a magnet (“Fuck Your Wall”). I was specifically looking for Lorde’s and Hopkinson’s books, and the other two just grabbed me (Johnson’s because it is signed). I was impressed by how the store felt like a queer space–there were queer books displayed everywhere, not only in the LGBTQ section, which itself was impressive. The four books I acquired are all queer, and I only found one of them, Johnson’s, in this section. Lorde’s and Tolbert and Peterson’s were on endcaps; I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen queer literature highlighted so prominently before in a general bookstore.

Hopkinson, Nalo. Falling in Love with Hominids. San Francisco: Tachyon Publications, 2015.

Johnson, Chelsey. Stray City. New York: Custom House, 2018.

Lorde, Audre. The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. 1997. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000.

Tolbert, TC, and Trace Peterson, eds. Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Callicoon, NY: Nightboat Books, 2013.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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