The issue of the Journal of Mennonite Writing that I guest-edited on Queer Mennonite Literature is now out, and you can access it free here. It includes work by nine writers across the genres of poetry, fiction, personal essay, photography, and academic essay. Check it out!
I recently visited Oregon for the first time, and as part of my trip made a pilgrimage to Powell’s City of Books. It is a majestic bookshop, the best I have ever been in. I had a limited amount of time there and thus did not have time to explore it fully, but still ended up buying four books, a t-shirt, and a magnet (“Fuck Your Wall”). I was specifically looking for Lorde’s and Hopkinson’s books, and the other two just grabbed me (Johnson’s because it is signed). I was impressed by how the store felt like a queer space–there were queer books displayed everywhere, not only in the LGBTQ section, which itself was impressive. The four books I acquired are all queer, and I only found one of them, Johnson’s, in this section. Lorde’s and Tolbert and Peterson’s were on endcaps; I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen queer literature highlighted so prominently before in a general bookstore.
Hopkinson, Nalo. Falling in Love with Hominids. San Francisco: Tachyon Publications, 2015.
Johnson, Chelsey. Stray City. New York: Custom House, 2018.
Lorde, Audre. The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. 1997. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000.
Tolbert, TC, and Trace Peterson, eds. Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Callicoon, NY: Nightboat Books, 2013.
Dueck, J. Alicia. Negotiating Sexual Identities: Lesbian, Gay, and Queer Perspectives on Being Mennonite. Zurich, Switzerland: LIT Verlag, 2012.
I recently came across a citation of this study in an article by Dueck (now Dueck-Read–she’s married her girlfriend since the book came out 🙂 ) herself. I am always hesitant about citing myself (and thus am a little suspicious of others who do so) because it feels prideful. However, I often do because there just aren’t other people writing about queer Mennonite literature, so there is nothing else to cite. So I am very glad that Dueck cited herself so that I could hear about her book since she is writing in the same vein. I am also incredibly frustrated that she has apparently been unable to find a North American venue for it. This kind of queer Mennonite work is so necessary here, and so inaccessible. I was able to find this copy of her book from a German bookseller via amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers and it took nearly two months to get here.
Tamblyn, Amber. Any Man. New York: HarperPerennial, 2018.
I recently received this novel as a gift. It apparently has a fascinating (and I’m assuming feminist) premise: it is about a woman who is a serial rapist of men. I’m looking forward to reading it on my upcoming vacation.
Winterson, Jeanette. The Gap of Time: “The Winter’s Tale” Retold. New York: Hogarth, 2015.
I found a new, remaindered copy of this hardcover for $5.97 at Walmart this evening, and bought it partly because I love Winterson’s writing and partly because I was shocked to find a book by a queer author there and wanted to encourage such diversity. The novel is part of Hogarth’s series of Shakespeare adaptations by contemporary authors. I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare, so didn’t buy it for $25.00 when it first came out, but had to buy it at the current price.
Good, Merle. Surviving Failure (and a Few Successes). Lancaster, PA: Walnut Street Books, 2018.
Good is one of the first Mennonite writers from the United States (his novel Happy as the Grass was Green came out in 1971), and he and his wife Phyllis were the owners of Good Books, which published a number of important titles in the field of Mennonite studies. I bought his new memoir as soon as I heard about it because I am interested in reading about the unfortunate demise of Good Books in his own words.
I purchased this book and Haslip-Viera’s from amazon.com.
Haslip-Viera, Gabriel, ed. Taíno Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2001.
As I continue to explore my Puerto Rican heritage I have been searching for more information about the island’s pre-colonial history and its traces in Puerto Rican society today. This book is one of the very few I was able to find on the subject, so I bought it despite its age.
Underwood, Upton Uxbridge. Poets Ranked by Beard Weight: The Commemorative Edition. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2011.
I received this book, a spoof that claims to be an Edwardian classic, from a friend. Of course I love beards, so it will be interesting to read.
Yesterday I made a trip to Dove & Hudson Old Books in Albany, one of my favorite bookstores and the best I’ve found in the state of New York other than the Strand. I only bought four books because I’ve been spending a lot on books lately, but there were a number of others that I also considered.
Espada, Martín. Alabanza: New and Selected Poems 1982-2002. 2003. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004.
I love Espada’s work and was happy to find this copy of his selected poems for only $5.00.
Hall, Donald. Seasons at Eagle Pond. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1987.
I enjoy Hall’s poetry and the bits of his prose that I have read. I’ve been thinking a lot about memoir lately and am usually thinking about place, so this book about his family farm jumped out at me.
Lethem, Jonathan. You Don’t Love Me Yet. 2007. New York: Vintage, 2008.
I enjoy Lethem’s fiction, but haven’t read any of it for a while, and haven’t read any of his shorter books. The blurb on this one caught my attention.
Sackville-West, Vita. Family History. 1932. London: Virago Press, 1986.
I was looking for another book when I came across this one for only $3.50, and decided to buy it because I am a sucker for old paperbacks.
I recently went to a writing retreat at Laurelville Mennonite camp where we discussed the subject of theopoetics quite a bit. I bought Ewing’s, Lorde’s, and Remer’s books as a result because I feel the need to do more reading on the subject. I purchased Gay Latino Studies because I have done very little reading about the queer/Latinx intersection, something which needs to be remedied. All four were bought on amazon.com.
Ewing, Eve L. Electric Arches. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017.
Hames-García, Michael, and Ernesto Javier Martínez, ed. Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.
Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. 1984. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press, 2007.
Remer, Molly. Earthprayer, Birthprayer, Lifeprayer, Womanprayer. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015.
Cliff, Michelle. Free Enterprise. New York: Dutton, 1993.
I heard a presentation about this novel at Northeast MLA and it sounded interesting because of its treatment of pacifism and violence, so I decided to buy it since I have enjoyed my previous experiences with Cliff’s writing.
Denise, Cheryl. I Saw God Dancing. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2005.
This past weekend I was at the Poetics of Place writing retreat at Laurelville Mennonite Camp in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. It was an amazing experience filled with thought-provoking conversations and inspired writing. There was a book sale, and I bought a number of volumes, all poetry: Denise’s two books and those by Gascho, Kaufmann, Stenson, and Wiebe. Aside from Wiebe, who died in 2008, all of the authors were there and I was thus able to have them sign my books. Now I have plenty of poetry to read this summer!
—. What’s in the Blood. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2012.
Gascho, Joseph. Cornfields, Cottonwoods, Seagulls, and Sermons: Growing Up in Nebraska. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2017.
Kaufmann, Britt. Belonging. Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2011.
Kreider, Roberta Showalter, ed. The Cost of Truth: Faith Stories of Mennonite and Brethren Leaders and Those Who Might Have Been. Kulpsville, PA: Strategic Press, 2004.
I recently came across a citation of this book in an article by Alicia Dueck-Read, and bought it immediately because of my work on queer Mennonites.
Stenson, Esther Yoder. Miracle Temple. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2009.
Wiebe, Dallas. On the Cross: Devotional Poems. Telford, PA: DreamSeeker Books, 2005.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. 1925. Orlando: Harcourt, 1981.
I was recently lamenting to a friend that I no longer had a copy of this book because my ex-wife got it after our divorce. Said friend surprised me with this copy yesterday.