Monthly Archives: May 2020

Books Acquired Recently: Mostly Mennonite, Mostly Canadian, Mostly Poetry Edition

Carter, Terry Ann. Haiku in Canada: History, Poetry, Memoir. Victoria, BC: Ekstasis Editions, 2020.

I saw an advertisement for this book in the latest issue of the Haiku Society of America’s newsletter and decided to buy it because I am still fairly new to the haiku community and don’t know much of its history. I also enjoy reading literary history in general, so I am looking forward to learning from this book.

Redekop, Magdalene. Making Believe: Questions About Mennonites and Art. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020.

Magdalene Redekop has been involved in the field of Mennonite literature since its critical beginnings in the 1980s. This is her first book about the field. I finished it last night (I began reading it as soon as I received it in the mail a few days ago). It gives a valuable historical perspective on how the field has gotten to where it is now. It also considers literature within the broader arts context, with chapters on Mennonite music and visual art, which is something that has not been done previously.

Rohrer, Jane. Acquiring Land: Late Poems. Edited by Julia Spicher Kasdorf. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2020.

Jane Rohrer is one of the oldest Mennonite poetic voices in the U.S., but her work has often been neglected. It is wonderful to have a new collection of her work available. It has an introduction by Julia Spicher Kasdorf that will also hopefully spur more interest in Rohrer’s work.

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Books Acquired Recently

Morris, Marla, Mary Aswell Doll, and William F. Pinar, eds. How We Work. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.

This is a collection of essays by writers in a number of different fields about their writing processes. One of my goals during my sabbatical has been to read a lot about writing in order to improve my own and to think about where I want my writing to go in the future. I saw a citation for this book and thought it would be helpful for this goal, and I found a new, inexpensive copy for sale, so I decided to buy it.

Pollack, Rachel. Fortune’s Lover: A Book of Tarot Poems. New York: A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2009.

Tarot has become a daily part of my life this year, and poetry is also a daily part of my life, so I was excited to hear about this collection that combines the two. I ordered it several months ago and was told it would be delayed due to the pandemic. It arrived today from Spain (which is where it was printed)! An enjoyable surprise.

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Books Acquired Recently: Queer Archiving Edition

Kumbier, Alana. Ephemeral Material: Queering the Archive. Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books, 2014.

This book has been on my to-read shelf for a while, and I finally decided to buy it.

Sheffield, Rebecka Taves. Documenting Rebellions: A Study of Four Lesbian and Gay Archives in Queer Times. Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books, 2020.

While I was on the Litwin Books website looking for Kumbier’s book, I came across this new book by Sheffield and decided to buy it because I cite one of her articles, which I love, in my book, and have also taught the article in one of my writing classes, so I am excited to read more of her work. She is Canadian, so I wonder whether “Taves” is an Anglicization of “Toews,” and thus whether she has Mennonite heritage.

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Books Acquired Recently: Nikki Reimer/PM Press Edition

I recently read Nikki Reimer’s My Heart is a Rose Manhattan and loved it. I decided to buy her previous two collections as a result, and they came in the mail today.

Reimer, Nikki. DOWNVERSE. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2014.

—. [sic]. Calgary: Frontenac House, 2010.

 

I just joined PM Press’s Friends of PM program, which sends subscribers several books each month for a flat fee of $30.00. It’s like a leftist Book of the Month Club! I got my first shipment today. There were three books. One is a vegan cookbook that I’m giving away, but these are the two that I am keeping:

Phillips, Gary. The Jook. Oakland: PM Press, 2009.

I am excited to see that this novel is about American football because there are almost no novels about the sport. There is Don DeLillo’s End Zone and Chuck Klosterman’s Downtown Owl (and even this one is a stretch), and that’s about it.

Stout, Mike. Homestead Steel Mill: The Final Ten Years; USWA Local 1397 and the Fight for Union Democracy. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.

The cover photograph of this book shows a bunch of workers at a protest yelling with their middle fingers raised.

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Books Acquired Recently: Sedgwick Edition

I mentioned in my last post that I am reading more of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s work. These two books are a part of that effort. I’m especially excited to read Fat Art, Thin Art because I haven’t read any of Sedgwick’s poetry before.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Fat Art, Thin Art. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.

—. The Weather in Proust. Ed. Jonathan Goldberg. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

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Books Acquired Recently

Abraham, George. Birthright: Poems. Minneapolis: Button Poetry, 2020.

I heard Abraham read in a virtual reading last week. I had never encountered his work before, but was completely blown away by it and decided to order his book right away. The reading was through an independent bookstore in Pittsburgh, and they had a link to order the poets’ books through bookshop.org, which is a new website run by independent bookstores to give them an online presence as an alternative to amazon.com. They are taking extra precautions to keep their warehouse workers safe during the pandemic, and their service was fast anyway. I highly recommend them!

Galasso, William Scott. Rough Cut: Thirty Years of Senryu. Laguna Woods, CA: Galwin Press, 2019.

I recently read a review of this book in Frogpond and decided to buy it as a result. I’ve been writing senryu myself lately, but it is hard to find collections or anthologies of them, so I was excited to hear about Galasso’s book.

López, Casandra. Brother Bullet: Poems. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2019.

López read with Abraham, and was also wonderful, so I ordered her book too. She read from a memoir in progress as well, and that was even better than her poetry–I’m excited to read it once it is finished.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Tendencies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.

I’ve been reading a lot about Sedgwick’s work lately and decided that I should read more of it myself. This is an essay collection that gets cited all the time in queer theory. I will say that these ridiculous one- or two-word titles that some academics use for their books drive me nuts because they tell potential readers nothing about what the book is about. A brief subtitle (e.g., Tendencies: Essays on X, or Tendencies: X, Y, and Z) would work wonders.

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Sabbatical Productivity: April

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 April, generally in chronological order. I did less than in previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in March here) because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though.

1. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

2. Worked on revisions to my website.

3. Got an update that an essay collection on Ana Castillo’s work that I have a piece in passed peer review and will be published next year.

4. Finished sending acceptance emails for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference scheduled to take place in October.

5. Submitted three senryu to a journal.

6. Finished and submitted a poem about the pandemic to a journal.

7. Finished a draft of an essay about Mennonite literature for an essay collection on present-day Anabaptist vitality. I had been working on it for a while before the pandemic and it was totally kicking my butt, so it felt like a huge triumph to be able to get back into my writing routine enough to be able to finish it this month. Most days I was only able to write a paragraph or two, but sometimes that is enough.

8. Finished a book that a journal has asked me to review and worked on notes for the review.

9. Wrote a blurb for a forthcoming book on Amish sexuality.

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