Books Acquired Recently

Blanco, Richard. How to Love a Country: Poems. Boston: Beacon Press, 2019.

I was browsing the poetry section at my local Barnes & Noble today (perhaps surprisingly, they had a rather impressive selection of new stuff along with the “classics”) and came across Blanco’s new collection. I read a few poems and enjoyed them, so decided to buy it. I’ve never read any of his poetry before even though I teach his memoir in one of my writing classes.

Irby, Samantha. Meaty: Essays. New York: Vintage Books, 2018.

This is a revised edition of Irby’s first book, which I also found while browsing at B&N. I love Irby’s second book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, so buying this one was an easy choice.

Negrón-Muntaner, Frances. Boricua Pop: Puerto Ricans and the Latinization of American Culture. New York: New York University Press, 2004.

This book is somewhat old, but sadly not that much has been written about Puerto Rican work in the arts since then, so I feel that it is necessary to read it because part of my current project includes a discussion of Puerto Rican literature.

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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