Books Acquired Recently

Díaz, Jaquira. Ordinary Girls: A Memoir. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2019.

I read an interview with Díaz in Poets & Writers a few months ago about this book and pre-ordered it immediately because I am looking for as many Puerto Rican memoirs as I can find since I am working on my own.

Machado, Carmen Maria. In the Dream House: A Memoir. Minneapolis: Gray Wolf Press, 2019.

I love Machado’s short story collection and have been eagerly anticipating this memoir ever since I heard about it a year ago. It just came out this week and my copy arrived yesterday. Twitter has been going crazy with praise for it (I just got a Twitter account! @shankcruz–follow me and I’ll follow you back), and I can’t wait to read it this weekend.

Muradyan, Luisa. American Radiance. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2018.

Muradyan gave a fantastic poetry reading at Utica College yesterday, and I bought her book and got it signed. I love how her work is infused with 1980s pop culture, kind of like an ’80s version of Frank O’Hara.

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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