Books Acquired Recently

Acevedo, Elizabeth. The Poet X. New York: HarperTeen, 2018.

I heard about this book at a panel at the recent MLA convention and it sounded interesting enough that I decided to buy it. I will be teaching a Latinx Literature course in the fall for the first time, so I am trying to read as much recent Latinx lit as possible as I think about what to put on the syllabus.

Piatote, Beth. The Beadworkers: Stories. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press, 2019.

I just recently found out about Piatote, who attends a Mennonite church and thus can be considered a Mennonite writer. As such, she falls within my scholarly purview.

Smith, Danez. Homie: Poems. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2020.

I read Smith’s previous book, Don’t Call Us Dead, earlier this year and loved it, so I pre-ordered this new collection as soon as I heard about it. It came this week.

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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