Monthly Archives: March 2020

Books Acquired Recently

Choi, Franny. Soft Science: Poems. Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2019.

I read Choi’s previous full-length collection, Floating, Brilliant, Gone, last year and loved it, so when I heard about Soft Science I decided to buy it right away. The book was out of stock for a little while, so my copy just came today. I appreciate hugely workers who are still fulfilling book orders in these terrible times.

Miller, Evie Yoder. Shadows. Scruples on the Line: A Fictional Series Set During the American Civil War, Book I. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2020.

I saw Miller read an excerpt from this novel last month at the Mennonite Arts Festival in Cincinnati and ordered it as soon as it came out a few weeks later.

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Books Acquired Recently: Post-Birthday Edition

I got some money as a gift for my birthday a few weeks ago and used it to buy some books that I’ve had on my wish list for a while. They arrived in the mail (which thankfully is still running) today. All three books are queer.

Castle, Terry. The Professor: A Sentimental Education. 2010. New York: HarperPerennial, 2011.

I read Castle’s book The Apparitional Lesbian during the first year of my M.A. (2004-5) and it taught me to see and do scholarship in new ways. It has continued to be an important text for me. I recently heard about The Professor, a collection of personal essays, and decided to buy it because of Castle’s previous influence on me.

Parker, Pat. The Complete Works of Pat Parker. Ed. Julie R. Enszer. Dover, FL: A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2016.

I’ve read some of Parker’s letters but not any of her poetry, and I know very little about her as a writer overall. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work. Queer person of color voices are especially necessary in times of societal upheaval like these.

Springgay, Stephanie, and Sarah E. Truman. Walking Methodologies in a More-than-Human World: WalkingLab. 2018. London: Routledge, 2019.

I’ve been interested in walking as a political act since I began reading about psychogeography about seven years ago. This book looks at walking through a queer, decolonial, affective lens, which is a much-needed approach. It will be an especially fascinating text to explore now while movement (though not walking in New York currently) is curtailed during the pandemic.

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Books Acquired Recently

Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature: Portable 13th Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 2020.

I received this unasked-for examination copy yesterday in my school mailbox on the last day I was allowed to be on campus due to the current pandemic. It’s always nice to get free books, and the timing of acquiring this one was especially fortunate considering that it arrived just in time and that new reading material will be at a premium for the forseeable future.

Randall, Margaret. I Never Left Home: Poet, Feminist, Revolutionary; A Memoir of Time & Place. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

I had never heard of Randall until receiving a promotional email about this book from the publisher. I ordered an exam copy because I am hoping the book will be a good fit for a Literature of Revolution course that I am planning to teach next school year.


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Books Acquired Recently: Birthday Gift Edition

I turned 40 yesterday (a wonderful day despite its apocalyptic setting), and received a handful of books as gifts, which is nice considering the current importance of staying isolated. All except for Tarot for Self-Care (at least as far as I know) are by queer authors, and it was given to me by someone who is queer, so overall this post records a queer literary bonanza!

Castillo, Marcelo Hernandez. Cenzontle: Poems. Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2018.

Harrington, Lee. Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond. Anchorage, AK: Mystic Productions Press, 2009.

Hicks, Faylita. HoodWitch: Poems. Cincinnati: Acre Books, 2019.

Siegel, Minerva. Tarot for Self-Care: How to Use Tarot to Manifest Your Best Self. New York: Adams Media, 2019.

Taylor, Brandon. Real Life. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020.

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Books Acquired Recently

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven. 2014. New York: Vintage Books, 2015.

I bought this book two days ago at my local Barnes & Noble because I recently read an interesting interview with Mandel in Poets & Writers and then saw a number of people on Twitter saying that Station Eleven describes a situation very similar to our current virus-laden one. I decided it would be worth reading as one way to help conceptualize the current moment, which is unlike anything I have experienced.

Wood, Elizabeth Anne. Bound: A Daughter, a Domme, and an End-of-Life Story. Berkeley, CA: She Writes Press, 2019.

I just received an exam copy of this book from the author. Its intersection of BDSM and disability intrigues me because of the role of these two subjects in my own work, so I am considering teaching it in one of my courses.

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Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Gonzalo Vega and the Portal Down Below

Beachy, Stephen. Gonzalo Vega and the Portal Down Below. Amish Terror Book 3. San Diego: Vapor Books, 2019.

Queer Mennonite writer extraordinaire Stephen Beachy’s third Amish science fiction novel came out in December, and I just finally got my copy yesterday. It was originally supposed to be the final book in the Amish Terror series, but according to the series page in this volume there will be at least two more volumes forthcoming, Hadi Hamed and the Quantum Egg and Emma Beyond the Singularity. I began reading Gonzalo Vega last night and am really enjoying it thus far.

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Books Acquired Recently

Phillips, Adam. Monogamy. 1996. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.

I’ve been reading a lot about various relationship models lately and have seen Phillips’s book referenced several times, so I decided to check it out for myself. The fact that it is still in print nearly twenty-five years after it was first published is a good sign.

Yuknavitch, Lidia. Verge: Stories. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020.

I love Yuknavitch’s memoir The Chronology of Water and saw her speak at the AWP conference last year. I appreciated her unabashed queer energy, so when I heard she had a new book of stories I bought it right away.

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Books Acquired Recently

Buller, Rachel Epp, and Kerry Fast, eds. Mothering Mennonite. Bradford, ON: Demeter Press, 2013.

I heard about this book when it came out, but only recently learned that it contains a number of essays by Mennonite literary figures. I bought it for this reason.

McKay, Claude. Romance in Marseille. New York: Penguin Books, 2020.

I received an exam copy of this newly-discovered novel yesterday. From the blurb: “Romance in Marseille traces the adventures of a rowdy troupe of dockworkers, prostitutes [sic], and political organizers–collectively straight and queer, disabled and able-bodied, African, European, Caribbean, and American.”

Stenson, Esther. Showing Up: Poems. Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2020.

Stenson is a Mennonite writer whom I’ve interacted with at various conferences. I pre-ordered this book when it was announced last year and it came in the mail yesterday, a nice surprise.

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Sabbatical Productivity: February

I am on sabbatical this semester and have been keeping a list in my journal of the academic activities I engage in. This practice is partly for myself, so that I make sure I am using the time productively, and partly for my institution, which requires me to write a report about the sabbatical once it finishes. Here is a list of what I accomplished in February, generally in chronological order. You can read about what I accomplished in January here.

1. Worked on revisions of my current book project throughout the month, including incorporating feedback on an earlier draft that I received from a friend.

2. Finished a draft of a book proposal to begin sending out to publishers.

3. Attended a poetry reading by Wendy Chin-Tanner.

4. Attended the Mennonite Arts Festival in Cincinnati and networked with other Mennonite writers there.

5. Contacted a potential keynote speaker for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference in October 2020 in my role as a member of the organizing committee. She accepted the invitation.

6. Wrote and submitted an abstract for a panel at MLA 2021 on Queer Lists.

7. Responded to abstracts throughout the month that were submitted for the MLA 2021 panel on Dungeons & Dragons that I am co-organizing.

8. Revamped my website.

9. Built and launched a website for the three Mennonite/s Writing bibliographies that I curate, which is here.

10. Began work on an invited essay for a forthcoming collection about Anabaptist vitality in the twenty-first century.

11. Began work on another invited essay for a special issue of Political Theology on Mennonite political theology. (And yes, I am surprised that my new work is turning even more toward the theological, but my general practice when people invite me to write things is to say yes.)

12. Received an email from a journal asking me to submit the longer version of my MLA 2020 presentation to them. It is already under contract elsewhere (forthcoming later this year!), so I declined.

13. Received an email about another journal interested in reviewing Queering Mennonite Literature and in the possibility of me curating a special issue on queer literature and religion.


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