Sabbatical Productivity: March

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 March, generally in chronological order. Although March’s list is the same length as February’s (you can read about what I accomplished in February here), I did less than the previous two months because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the current pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though, so I have high hopes for April even though, as T.S. Eliot writes, it “is the cruellest [sic] month.”

1. Along with a colleague, chose four panelists for an MLA special session proposal on Dungeons & Dragons. All four accepted the invitation to be part of the proposal.

2. Sent rejections to the rest of the people who submitted abstracts for the Dungeons & Dragons panel.

3. Revised the three Mennonite/s Writing bibliographies throughout the month. They are here, along with the blog that lists all of the individual revisions.

4. Worked on revisions to my current book project.

5. Submitted a book proposal to the ideal publisher for my book project.

6. Wrote and submitted an abstract for an MLA panel on Samuel R. Delany.

7. Wrote a few senryu.

8. Corresponded with the rest of the planning committee for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference that is scheduled for October (fingers crossed!) about which abstracts to accept.

9. Wrote a template for the Mennonite/s Writing IX acceptance email and sent out acceptances to around forty submitters.

10. Submitted five senryu to the 2020 Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology and received notice about which one the editor accepted.

11. Along with a colleague, wrote and submitted the proposal for the Dungeons & Dragons panel.

12. Began writing a long poem about the pandemic.

13. Got asked to review a book of poetry by a journal.

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Books Acquired Recently

Choi, Franny. Soft Science: Poems. Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2019.

I read Choi’s previous full-length collection, Floating, Brilliant, Gone, last year and loved it, so when I heard about Soft Science I decided to buy it right away. The book was out of stock for a little while, so my copy just came today. I appreciate hugely workers who are still fulfilling book orders in these terrible times.

Miller, Evie Yoder. Shadows. Scruples on the Line: A Fictional Series Set During the American Civil War, Book I. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2020.

I saw Miller read an excerpt from this novel last month at the Mennonite Arts Festival in Cincinnati and ordered it as soon as it came out a few weeks later.

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Books Acquired Recently: Post-Birthday Edition

I got some money as a gift for my birthday a few weeks ago and used it to buy some books that I’ve had on my wish list for a while. They arrived in the mail (which thankfully is still running) today. All three books are queer.

Castle, Terry. The Professor: A Sentimental Education. 2010. New York: HarperPerennial, 2011.

I read Castle’s book The Apparitional Lesbian during the first year of my M.A. (2004-5) and it taught me to see and do scholarship in new ways. It has continued to be an important text for me. I recently heard about The Professor, a collection of personal essays, and decided to buy it because of Castle’s previous influence on me.

Parker, Pat. The Complete Works of Pat Parker. Ed. Julie R. Enszer. Dover, FL: A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2016.

I’ve read some of Parker’s letters but not any of her poetry, and I know very little about her as a writer overall. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work. Queer person of color voices are especially necessary in times of societal upheaval like these.

Springgay, Stephanie, and Sarah E. Truman. Walking Methodologies in a More-than-Human World: WalkingLab. 2018. London: Routledge, 2019.

I’ve been interested in walking as a political act since I began reading about psychogeography about seven years ago. This book looks at walking through a queer, decolonial, affective lens, which is a much-needed approach. It will be an especially fascinating text to explore now while movement (though not walking in New York currently) is curtailed during the pandemic.

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Books Acquired Recently

Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature: Portable 13th Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 2020.

I received this unasked-for examination copy yesterday in my school mailbox on the last day I was allowed to be on campus due to the current pandemic. It’s always nice to get free books, and the timing of acquiring this one was especially fortunate considering that it arrived just in time and that new reading material will be at a premium for the forseeable future.

Randall, Margaret. I Never Left Home: Poet, Feminist, Revolutionary; A Memoir of Time & Place. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

I had never heard of Randall until receiving a promotional email about this book from the publisher. I ordered an exam copy because I am hoping the book will be a good fit for a Literature of Revolution course that I am planning to teach next school year.

 

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Books Acquired Recently: Birthday Gift Edition

I turned 40 yesterday (a wonderful day despite its apocalyptic setting), and received a handful of books as gifts, which is nice considering the current importance of staying isolated. All except for Tarot for Self-Care (at least as far as I know) are by queer authors, and it was given to me by someone who is queer, so overall this post records a queer literary bonanza!

Castillo, Marcelo Hernandez. Cenzontle: Poems. Rochester, NY: BOA Editions, 2018.

Harrington, Lee. Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond. Anchorage, AK: Mystic Productions Press, 2009.

Hicks, Faylita. HoodWitch: Poems. Cincinnati: Acre Books, 2019.

Siegel, Minerva. Tarot for Self-Care: How to Use Tarot to Manifest Your Best Self. New York: Adams Media, 2019.

Taylor, Brandon. Real Life. New York: Riverhead Books, 2020.

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Books Acquired Recently

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven. 2014. New York: Vintage Books, 2015.

I bought this book two days ago at my local Barnes & Noble because I recently read an interesting interview with Mandel in Poets & Writers and then saw a number of people on Twitter saying that Station Eleven describes a situation very similar to our current virus-laden one. I decided it would be worth reading as one way to help conceptualize the current moment, which is unlike anything I have experienced.

Wood, Elizabeth Anne. Bound: A Daughter, a Domme, and an End-of-Life Story. Berkeley, CA: She Writes Press, 2019.

I just received an exam copy of this book from the author. Its intersection of BDSM and disability intrigues me because of the role of these two subjects in my own work, so I am considering teaching it in one of my courses.

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Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Gonzalo Vega and the Portal Down Below

Beachy, Stephen. Gonzalo Vega and the Portal Down Below. Amish Terror Book 3. San Diego: Vapor Books, 2019.

Queer Mennonite writer extraordinaire Stephen Beachy’s third Amish science fiction novel came out in December, and I just finally got my copy yesterday. It was originally supposed to be the final book in the Amish Terror series, but according to the series page in this volume there will be at least two more volumes forthcoming, Hadi Hamed and the Quantum Egg and Emma Beyond the Singularity. I began reading Gonzalo Vega last night and am really enjoying it thus far.

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