Books Acquired Recently

di Prima, Diane. Spring and Autumn Annals: A Celebration of the Seasons for Freddie. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2021.

I love di Prima’s Memoirs of a Beatnik, so I was intrigued when I heard that a new memoir had just been published posthumously. LitHub published an excerpt of it that I enjoyed, so I decided to buy it. I tore through it last week; it’s definitely worth reading. It has a wonderful New York City vibe.

Frangello, Gina. Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press, 2021.

Considering its subtitle, how can one not buy this book? As someone who is divorced but who has not written about it, I am intrigued to see how other authors approach the subject.

Gay, Roxane. Bad Feminist: Essays. New York: HarperPerennial, 2014.

We’ve been reading electronic copies of a few essays from this book in one of my MFA classes, so I decided to go ahead and buy the entire collection.

Smith, Patti. M Train. New York: Vintage Books, 2016.

I went to the Strand for the first time since moving back to the area this summer to buy Gay’s book, and they had a stack of Smith’s book next to it. I love Smith’s memoir Just Kids, and was coming off the NYC high from di Prima’s book, so I impulsively bought M Train as well.

Book Acquired Recently: Miriam Toews’s Fight Night

Toews, Miriam. Fight Night. New York: Bloomsbury, 2021.

I just received Miriam Toews’s new novel in the mail. Thankfully it got published in the U.S. at almost the same time as the Canadian edition, unlike her previous book, Women Talking, which was delayed by almost a year. I was able to order Women Talking from Canada, but it’s much more difficult and more expensive now to get books from Canada as a result of the pandemic.

Writing Activity, September 2021

One of my 2021 goals is to keep 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 website.

3. Had the ten haiku/senryu I submitted to Acorn last month rejected.

4. Submitted seven haiku for consideration for inclusion in an anthology the Haiku Society of America is publishing by members of their haiku mentorship program.

5. Worked on an essay about Frank O’Hara for one of my MFA courses.

6. Had the first MFA workshop on my writing, which generally went well.

Books Acquired Recently

Plett, Casey. A Dream of a Woman: Stories. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2021.

Plett is an award-winning queer Mennonite writer and also a good friend. I pre-ordered her new book (which has already been nominated for this year’s Giller Prize!) as soon as it was possible to do so, and my copy arrived yesterday.

Quilter, Jenni, ed. New York School Painters & Poets. New York: Rizzoli International, 2014.

I bought this book after one of my professors mentioned it in class. It is a huge collection of artwork and ephemera by members of the two New York schools. I can’t wait to dive into it!

Wetmore, Sara. The Golden Girl. N.p.: Sara Wetmore, 2021.

This is a queer piece of speculative fiction about Zelda Fitzgerald by a former student of mine. I began reading it last night and it is a delight thus far.

Books Acquired Recently: Mostly New York School Edition

I am taking a course on the New York School of poets this semester. Aside from a few books that I already own, these four books are assigned for the class:

Ashbery, John. 1985. Selected Poems. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.

—. They Knew What They Wanted: Poems & Collages. Edited by Mark Polizzotti. New York: Rizzoli Electa, 2018.

Mayer, Bernadette. Midwinter Day. 1982. New York: New Directions, 1999.

Notley, Alice. Disobedience. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.

_____

Yao Xiao. Everything is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel, 2020.

This is a graphic novel by one of my new classmates! I just picked it up from my local bookshop today and look forward to reading it.

Writing Activity, August 2021

One of my 2021 goals is to keep 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 website.

3. Submitted ten haiku/senryu to Kingfisher and had one accepted for the next issue.

4. Began working on my memoir manuscript again for the first time since April.

5. Had the ten haiku/senryu I submitted to Frogpond last month rejected.

6. Submitted ten haiku/senryu to Acorn.

7. Had a review of Nikki Reimer‘s poetry collection My Heart is a Rose Manhattan published in the Journal of Mennonite Studies 39 (2021): 216-19.

8. Started my MFA program! Woohoo!

Books Acquired Recently

I recently got the Fall 2021 list of writers for Hunter College’s Distinguished Writers Series (the series webpage is here, but it hasn’t been updated yet), and purchased a few of the books that I didn’t have yet.

Greenidge, Kaitlyn. Libertie. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2021.

Klay, Phil. Missionaries. New York: Penguin Press, 2020.

Books Acquired Recently: Kristin Garth and Word Books Edition

Garth, Kristin. Atheist Barbie. N.p.: Maverick Duck Press, 2021.

—. The Death of Alice in Wonderland and Additional Adult Adventures. N.p.: Alien Buddha Press, 2021.

—. Puritan U: A True Crime in Sonnets, Footnotes & Verse. Philadelphia: Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019.

I recently ordered one of Garth’s books directly from her website and there were some pandemic-related shipping delays, so she kindly (and totally unasked for) sent me copies of two of her other books as well once the delay was resolved. I enjoy her feminist kinky poetry and look forward to reading more of it!

_____

I recently moved to Jersey City, and just had the chance to visit my neighborhood independent bookshop, Word Books, to pick up three books that I had ordered through their website.

Dancyger, Lilly. Negative Space: A Memoir. Santa Fe, NM: SFWP, 2021.

So, Anthony Veasna. Afterparties: Stories. New York: Ecco, 2021.

Washuta, Elissa. White Magic: Essays. Portland: Tin House, 2021.

Books Acquired Recently

Guitar, Lynne. The Taíno ABCs. N.p.: Lynne Guitar, 2017.

I am someone with Taíno ancestry, but I know very little about the culture and nothing about the language because both were nearly destroyed by European imperialism. I am trying to educate myself about both, so I bought this lexicon.

Younging, Gregory. Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples. Edmonton: Brush Education, 2018.

I encountered a reference to this style guide in Kazim Ali’s recent memoir, Northern Light. I decided to read it as part of my above-mentioned attempt to relate to my Taíno heritage.

Books Acquired Recently

Brooks, Randy M., ed. Student Haiku & Senryu Anthology: The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Competition. Haiku Society of America, 2020.

I received this anthology in the mail as a benefit of my Haiku Society of America membership. It was slated to come out last year, but just arrived due to pandemic-related delays.

Martínez, Demetria. Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005.

I recently came across an interview of Martínez that was intriguing enough that I decided to buy her memoir. I had never heard of her before, but am intrigued by her interest in blending religiosity with feminism. Having to excavate Latinx literary history that is only fifteen years old feels a little disheartening, though that is how the slaughterhouse of literature works sometimes.

Sayrafiezadeh, Saïd. American Estrangement: Stories. New York: W.W. Norton, 2021.

I am excited to read this new collection of stories by one of my professors. His previous collection of stories, Brief Encounters with the Enemy, does an excellent job of capturing the feel of our U.S. dystopia, and from what I’ve heard, American Estrangement does more of the same. A timely book.