Book Acquired Recently: Gish Jen’s Tiger Writing

Jen, Gish. Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.

I’m reading Matthew Salesses’s excellent book Craft in the Real World, which cites Jen’s book in fascinating enough ways that I decided to buy it. I haven’t read any of Jen’s work in about fifteen years, but I enjoyed it then, so I am looking forward to re-encountering it. I was able to find a used copy of the book in excellent condition for only $4.00 (it’s $40.00 new). It came in the mail yesterday and turned out to be autographed, a nice surprise!

Books Acquired Recently: Book Club Edition

Last night I went to Book Club, a combination bookshop/bar/coffeehouse in Manhattan, for the first time. Three authors read, and I bought two of their books.

Jones, Chloé Cooper. Easy Beauty: A Memoir. New York: Avid Reader Press, 2022.

Songsiridej, Alyssa. Little Rabbit. New York: Bloomsbury, 2022.

Writing Activity, April 2022

Since January 2021, I’ve been keeping a list of my writing activity for each month (here’s last month’s). I do so partly as a form of encouragement for myself–to show that I am still able to do some writing despite the energy-sucking terrors of the pandemic (Which is still going on! Keep wearing masks!)–and partly as an archive that I can look back on in the future. As such, I will include negative happenings (e.g., receiving rejections), not just positive ones.

I think that it is important for me to share my list publicly as a queer disabled writer of color because mainstream discourse tries to either pretend voices such as mine do not exist or actively tries to suppress them. Whether one is part of a marginalized group or not, writing is an essential act of resistance in these terrible times, so I hope that my list offers encouragement to others.

The list is basically in chronological order.

1. Wrote a haiku or senryu on most mornings.

2. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies.

3. Had a personal essay that I submitted to a journal rejected, so I submitted it to another journal and am still waiting to hear back.

4. Received my 2021 royalties for Queering Mennonite Literature, $115.88.

5. Submitted five poems to the 2022 Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology and was notified which one was accepted (everyone who submits has something selected).

6. Had the poems I submitted to Frogpond last month rejected.

7. Had a scholarly essay I submitted to a journal rejected.

8. Had three poems published in The Unexpected Weight: The Haiku Society of America Mentorship Program Anthology 2021, edited by Jay Friedenberg (N.p.: Haiku Society of America, 2022), 110-11.

Books Acquired Recently

Friedenberg, Jay, ed. The Unexpected Weight: The Haiku Society of America Mentorship Program Anthology 2021. N.p.: Haiku Society of America, 2022.

Last year the Haiku Society of America began a mentorship program for younger writers. I was lucky enough to get a spot in the program, which has been quite helpful for my work. This anthology includes poems published by the mentees during the program. Each poet has a biographical statement, three poems, and a reflective statement about what they learned from the program, so it’s a great way to introduce us to the broader haiku community.

Zacharias, Robert. Reading Mennonite Writing: A Study in Minor Transnationalism. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2022.

I was one of the peer reviewers for this important new book in Mennonite literary studies. It technically isn’t out until next month, but my copy arrived yesterday, hot off the press!

Books Acquired Recently: Dodie Bellamy Edition

My newfound obsession with Dodie Bellamy’s work continues! These three books are the latest additions to my collection of her work.

Bellamy, Dodie. Cunt-Ups. 2001. New York: Tender Buttons Press, 2018.

—. Cunt Norton. Los Angeles: Les Figues Press, 2013.

Bellamy, Dodie, and Kevin Killian, eds. Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative 1977-1997. New York: Nightboat Books, 2017.

Books Acquired Recently: Wedding Edition

My partner and I got married on Friday, and did some shopping at local bookstores with some money we received as a gift to celebrate. Clerc’s, Mandel’s, and Nelson’s books were bought at Little City Books in Hoboken, New Jersey, and the others were bought at the Strand in Manhattan.

Baker, Nicholson. Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act. 2020. New York: Penguin Books, 2021.

Baker is one of my favorite writers, but I haven’t had a chance to get to his latest book yet. I decided that now is the time despite its depressing-sounding subject matter.

Clerc, Benoît. David Bowie: All the Songs; The Story Behind Every Track. Trans. Simon Burrows, Caroline Higgitt, Paul Ratcliffe. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2021.

This is the book my partner chose as my wedding gift. Bowie is an important queer role model for me, so I look forward to reading it!

Kern, Leslie. Feminist City. 2019. London: Verso, 2021.

As a city person, I enjoy reading about cities, and I’m interested in reading about how to make them more just.

Mandel, Emily St. John. Sea of Tranquility. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2022.

I love Mandel’s earlier novel Station Eleven, and decided to buy Sea of Tranquility after reading about its relationship to the earlier book. There is an intriguing sticker on the dust jacket of Sea of Tranquility that reads “Signed first edition with exclusive content.” It is, indeed, autographed, but the copyright page simply calls it the “First Edition” without any other noting of the “exclusive content.” However, at the back of the book there is a note from Mandel that says that she believes in supporting independent presses and independent bookstores, so this edition, which has an extra chapter of the novel Marienbad (a fictional novel within Sea of Tranquility) in it following Mandel’s note, is being sold exclusively at independent bookstores. How cool!

Nelson, Maggie. Bluets. Seattle: Wave Books, 2009.

I enjoy all of Nelson’s work that I’ve read and have been wanting to read this collection for a while. I finally saw it on a bookstore shelf and decided that now is the time.

Strachey, Dorothy. Olivia. 1949. New York: Penguin Books, 2020.

Carley Moore’s fantastic new novel Panpocalypse mentions Strachey’s book, which I hadn’t heard of before. I decided to buy it based on this reference.

Writing Activity, March 2022

Since January 2021, I’ve been keeping a list of my writing activity for each month (here’s last month’s). I do so partly as a form of encouragement for myself–to show that I am still able to do some writing despite the energy-sucking terrors of the pandemic (Which is still going on! Keep wearing masks!)–and partly as an archive that I can look back on in the future. As such, I will include negative happenings (e.g., receiving rejections), not just positive ones.

I think that it is important for me to share my list publicly as a queer disabled writer of color because mainstream discourse tries to either pretend voices such as mine do not exist or actively tries to suppress them. Whether one is part of a marginalized group or not, writing is an essential act of resistance in these terrible times, so I hope that my list offers encouragement to others.

The list is basically in chronological order.

1. Wrote a haiku or senryu on most mornings.

2. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies.

3. Submitted a personal essay to a journal.

4. Submitted ten poems to Frogpond.

5. Found out that I did not win a haiku chapbook contest that I submitted to in November.

6. Continued my MFA coursework and had a short story workshopped.

7. Had a poem published in Modern Haiku 53, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 2022): 19. “Halloween / fewer and fewer / pandemic haiku.” This poem was written, submitted, and accepted before the Omicron surge. It will be interesting to see in the next few months whether more pandemic haiku/senryu start to appear again as a result of the recent new waves of illness.

8. Presented virtually at AWP 2022 and also attended the in-person conference in Philadelphia, where I had some good conversations with fellow writers and attended a few helpful panels.

Books Acquired Recently: Mostly AWP Edition

This past week I attended the 2022 Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference. Here’s what I got at the book fair:

Allende, Carlos. Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love. Pasadena, CA: Red Hen Press, 2022.

This novel has a fantastic title and came with a free t-shirt, so I bought it. I was able to get it autographed as well.

Alvarado, Moncho Ollin. Greyhound Americans. Ardmore, PA: Saturnalia Books, 2021.

I’m always on the lookout for other queer Latinx writers.

Barrett, Kay Ulanday. More Than Organs. Little Rock, AR: Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020.

I read this excellent poetry collection as soon as I bought it on Thursday. Recommended!

Darling, Kristina Marie, and Carol Guess. X Marks the Dress: A Registry. New York: Persea Books, 2015.

I had not heard of either of the authors before, but this poetry collection’s intriguing subtitle caught my attention.

Febos, Melissa. Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative. New York: Catapult, 2022.

I went straight to Catapult’s table as soon as the book fair opened and bought this hotly anticipated book before they ran out of copies.

Friend, Tyler. Him or Her or Whatever. Boulder, CO: Alternating Current Press, 2022.

I went to a poetry reading that included Friend on Wednesday night and really enjoyed their work, so I decided to buy their book, and was able to get it autographed. Oddly, they did not sign on the title page, the customary spot, but I see now that this is because the title is huge on the page, leaving almost no room for writing.

Huber, Sonya. Supremely Tiny Acts: A Memoir of a Day. Columbus, OH: Mad Creek Books, 2021.

The title totally sold me on this book.

Liu, Timothy. Let it Ride. Ardmore, PA: Saturnalia Books, 2019.

I like Liu’s early work, but haven’t read any of his recent stuff, so I was excited to see this book for sale. He signed it for me, and I also got a free t-shirt for buying two books from Saturnalia!

Milks, Megan. Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body. New York: Feminist Press, 2021.

This novel was recently nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, so when I saw it at the Feminist Press table and found out Milks was available to sign copies I bought one.

Philyaw, Deesha. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press, 2020.

I read this collection of short stories on the train home and it is fantastic!

Preciado, Paul B. Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era. Trans. Bruce Benderson. New York: Feminist Press, 2013.

I’ve seen this book cited lots of places, and decided to finally buy it because Feminist Press had it on sale.

Salesses, Matthew. Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping. New York: Catapult, 2021.

Even though I don’t write fiction, I’ve heard good things about how this book rethinks traditional workshopping, so thought it would be helpful to read.

The others:

Bellamy, Dodie. The Buddhist. Portland: Allone Co. Editions, 2011.

My obsession with Bellamy continues as I continue to track down some of her harder-to-find books.

Green, Leah Naomi. The More Extravagant Feast. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2020.

This is a birthday gift from my sister, who knows the poet.

Books Acquired Recently: Birthday Edition

Yesterday my partner took me to the Strand to buy me some books for my birthday. Here’s what I got:

Baraka, Amiri. SOS: Poems 1961-2013. New York: Grove Press, 2014.

I love Baraka’s work and have taught it in numerous courses. I already own a number of his books, which is why I didn’t buy this mammoth collection when it first came out, but I found a copy for $20.00, so decided it was time.

Myles, Eileen. Chelsea Girls. 1994. New York: Ecco, 2015.

—. Cool for You. 2000. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2017.

—. For Now. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020.

I began reading Myles’s poetry over the past few years and really enjoy it, so I decided to check out some of their prose.

My Interview with Samuel R. Delany

A few weeks ago I had the honor of interviewing Samuel R. Delany for the Dangerous Visions: Radical Science Fiction virtual symposium, which was sponsored by City Lights Bookstore and PM Press. We talked a lot about his most recent books, but also discussed some of his early career as well. You can watch the interview here, and links to the symposium’s other sessions are here.