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.

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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