Books Acquired Recently: Mennonite Edition

Neufeldt, Leonard. Yarrow: Poems. Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press, 1993.

I bought this book because I’ve been doing some writing about Mennonite poet Di Brandt, and the collection has a poem dedicated to her (“The Tree with a Hole in Our Front Yard”) that I wanted to reference. I read this poem twenty years ago in a Mennonite Literature course in college and it has stuck with me.

Stambaugh, Sara. Yon Far Country: A Social and Personal Memoir of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Kitchener, ON: Pandora Press, 2009.

I’m also doing some writing about Stambaugh’s novel I Hear the Reaper’s Song, which takes place in her hometown (and my ancestral hometown) of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I decided to order her memoir about the County to see if it is helpful for my writing.

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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