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.

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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