Monthly Archives: June 2020

Books Acquired Recently

Metres, Philip. Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront Since 1941. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007.

I’ve been reading a lot about poetry’s role in society lately because of the pandemic and came across a citation of this book, which looks fascinating, so I decided to buy it.

Pollack, Rachel. Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness. Newburyport, MA: Weiser Books, 2019.

I received this and Warner’s book as anniversary gifts from my partner. I’ve read some of Pollack’s tarot poetry and enjoyed it, so I look forward to reading her classic volume about interpreting the cards.

Swarstad Johnson, Julie. Orchard Light: Poems. Lewisburg, PA: Seven Kitchens Press, 2020.

I first encountered Swarstad Johnson’s poetry earlier this year at the Mennonite Arts Festival and became an immediate fan of it. I bought this chapbook as soon as it was released.

Warner, Andrea. Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2018.

I had not heard of Sainte-Marie before receiving this book, but the dust jacket makes her sound quite interesting, and I look forward to learning more about her.

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Books Acquired Recently

Bombardier, Cooper Lee. Pass with Care: Memoirs. New York: Dottir Press, 2020.

I first encountered Bombardier’s work in the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. His story there is fantastic, and I was excited to discover months ago on social media that he was coming out with a memoir. I pre-ordered it then and it arrived a few days ago.

Dunham, B. Mabel. Toward Sodom. Toronto: Macmillan, 1927.

I recently learned about Dunham and her path-breaking writing in the field of Mennonite literature. Her novel The Trail of the Conestoga might be the first Mennonite novel in English, and its sequel, Toward Sodom, might be the second. I was able to find a used copy of the latter online. It arrived in the mail today.

Zapruder, Matthew. Why Poetry. New York: Ecco, 2017.

As I mentioned in a recent post, “I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role of literature in apocalyptic times such as these. Reading poetry on a daily basis is helping me to survive emotionally. Therefore, I’ve been looking for texts related to this subject.” Acquiring Zapruder’s book is part of these explorations.

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Books Acquired Recently

Back, Rachel Tzvia. What Use is Poetry the Poet is Asking. Bristol, UK: Shearsman Books, 2019.

I received this book from a friend. She lives in Tulsa, where Magic City Books recently held a sale of some books that Joy Harjo donated from her personal library as a fundraiser for a local food bank. The book is inscribed to Harjo by Back and came with a letter from Harjo to the purchaser. So it is a fantastic object. I am enjoying the poetry as well thus far.

Dunham, Mabel. The Trail of the Conestoga. 1924. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970.

I recently heard about this novel, which may be the oldest Mennonite novel in English, which is why I am interested in it. I was able to find a new copy of the 1990 reprinting of the 1970 printing online, and it came today.

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Books Acquired Recently

Lerner, Ben. The Hatred of Poetry. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role of literature in apocalyptic times such as these. Reading poetry on a daily basis is helping me to survive emotionally. Therefore, I’ve been looking for texts related to this subject, and decided it was time to read Lerner’s book, which I’ve known about for a while but which had not previously appealed to me.

Machado, Carmen Maria, ed. The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019. Boston: Mariner Books, 2019.

I bought this book because Sofia Samatar has a story in it (Mennonite writers represent!), but I also like a number of other authors who are included, and I love Machado’s work, so I am excited to see what her editorial taste is like.

Tea, Michelle. Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions, & Criticisms. New York: Feminist Press, 2018.

I enjoy Tea’s work (especially Modern Tarot, which I read every morning), and I’ve been writing more creative nonfiction lately, so I decided that it would be a good idea to read her book about the genre.

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Books Acquired Recently

Mierau, Maurice. How Mind and Body Move: The Poetry of Patrick Friesen. Victoria, BC: Frog Hollow Press, 2018.

I recently encountered a citation of this book in Magdalene Redekop’s Making Believe and ordered it immediately. According to the book’s “Colophon,” it was “published in a limited edition of 100 copies,” so I am glad that there was still one left for me because Friesen is one of the foundational figures of Mennonite poetry and I have long enjoyed his work. My copy is numbered 86.

Rosaldo, Renato. The Chasers. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019.

I received a promotional email about this book of poetry when it was published, and it sounded fascinating, so I kept it in mind. I ordered it last month during Duke University Press’s 50% off sale and it came a few days ago.

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Sabbatical Productivity: May

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 May, generally in chronological order. I did less than in some previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in April 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. Finished and submitted a book review of Nikki Reimer’s My Heart is a Rose Manhattan.

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

3. Wrote a draft of an essay about Mennonite speculative fiction for a special journal issue on Mennonite political theology.

4. Agreed to peer review a book in one of my fields for a university press and received the manuscript.

5. Had a special session panel proposal for MLA 2021 on Dungeons & Dragons that I co-authored accepted.

6. Agreed to serve on the MLA’s Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada for a three-year term.

7. Began writing my portion of a Call for Papers for an essay anthology that a colleague and I are working on.

8. Emailed presenters from the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference that was scheduled for October 2020 to let them know that it has been postponed to October 2021 due to the pandemic.

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