Books Acquired Recently

Alvarado, Leticia. Abject Performances: Aesthetic Strategies in Latino Cultural Production. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018.

I am beginning to work more with Latinx literature in my scholarship, and thus have been working to build my library of criticism and theory in the field. This book looks relevant to that task, so I bought it directly from the publisher.

Hughes, Langston. I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey. 1956. New York: Hill and Wang, 1964.

A colleague gave me this and the Hughes and Bontemps anthology because she was de-accessioning some books and knows that I am interested in African American literature. I was very happy to receive them, partly because I love preserving old books and partly because, in the case of I Wonder as I Wander I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time and in the case of the anthology I am obsessed with poetry anthologies. The autobiography is stamped “The African-Caribbean Bookstore, 2319 E. 71st Street, Chicago, IL, 60649, (312) 288-0880” (which is apparently no longer in existence according to a quick Google search) and the anthology is inscribed “P.S. Kipp, Feb. 1963.”

Hughes, Langston, and Arna Bontemps, eds. The Poetry of the Negro, 1746-1949: A Definitive Anthology. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1949.

This anthology, which is in excellent condition, was ahead of its time in that it includes poetry from all over the world rather than just from the U.S. Unfortunately, only one poet from Africa is included, which indicates just how unexplored African literature was at the time, but there are numerous poets from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Kitano, Christine. Birds of Paradise. Spokane, WA: Lynx House Press, 2011.

Kitano gave a poetry reading at Utica College last week, and I decided to buy her first collection because she said it has a lot of poems about ghosts, and it was the third time in less than a week that ghosts had come up for me, which felt significant because of the rule of threes. I had dinner with her and her husband after the reading and she seems like quite a nice person.

Morales, Ed. Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture. London: Verso, 2018.

I received a promotional email about this book several weeks ago and ordered an exam copy immediately. It came in the mail at the end of last week and I hope to begin reading it later today.

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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