Tag Archives: Mennonites

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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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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Books Acquired Recently

Buller, Rachel Epp, and Kerry Fast, eds. Mothering Mennonite. Bradford, ON: Demeter Press, 2013.

I heard about this book when it came out, but only recently learned that it contains a number of essays by Mennonite literary figures. I bought it for this reason.

McKay, Claude. Romance in Marseille. New York: Penguin Books, 2020.

I received an exam copy of this newly-discovered novel yesterday. From the blurb: “Romance in Marseille traces the adventures of a rowdy troupe of dockworkers, prostitutes [sic], and political organizers–collectively straight and queer, disabled and able-bodied, African, European, Caribbean, and American.”

Stenson, Esther. Showing Up: Poems. Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 2020.

Stenson is a Mennonite writer whom I’ve interacted with at various conferences. I pre-ordered this book when it was announced last year and it came in the mail yesterday, a nice surprise.

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Sabbatical Productivity: February

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 February, generally in chronological order. You can read about what I accomplished in January here.

1. Worked on revisions of my current book project throughout the month, including incorporating feedback on an earlier draft that I received from a friend.

2. Finished a draft of a book proposal to begin sending out to publishers.

3. Attended a poetry reading by Wendy Chin-Tanner.

4. Attended the Mennonite Arts Festival in Cincinnati and networked with other Mennonite writers there.

5. Contacted a potential keynote speaker for the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference in October 2020 in my role as a member of the organizing committee. She accepted the invitation.

6. Wrote and submitted an abstract for a panel at MLA 2021 on Queer Lists.

7. Responded to abstracts throughout the month that were submitted for the MLA 2021 panel on Dungeons & Dragons that I am co-organizing.

8. Revamped my website.

9. Built and launched a website for the three Mennonite/s Writing bibliographies that I curate, which is here.

10. Began work on an invited essay for a forthcoming collection about Anabaptist vitality in the twenty-first century.

11. Began work on another invited essay for a special issue of Political Theology on Mennonite political theology. (And yes, I am surprised that my new work is turning even more toward the theological, but my general practice when people invite me to write things is to say yes.)

12. Received an email from a journal asking me to submit the longer version of my MLA 2020 presentation to them. It is already under contract elsewhere (forthcoming later this year!), so I declined.

13. Received an email about another journal interested in reviewing Queering Mennonite Literature and in the possibility of me curating a special issue on queer literature and religion.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Ahmed, Sara. Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

Anzaldúa, Gloria E. Light in the Dark/Luz En Lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality. Ed. AnaLouise Keating. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.

One of the goals of my sabbatical is to continue to fill in the gaps in my queer reading. I bought Ahmed’s and Anzaldúa’s books to help me with this goal.

Bonilla, Yarimar, and Marisol LeBrón, eds. Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2019.

Another sabbatical goal is to read more about Latinx literature in general and within Puerto Rican studies specifically. This anthology along with González’s and Morales’s books are part of this reading.

Cheung, Theresa. The Dream Dictionary from A to Z: The Ultimate A-Z to Interpret the Secrets of Your Dreams. London: HarperCollins, 2019.

As I’ve been getting more into the tarot I’ve been thinking more about my dreams because some cards relate to them. I was not looking for a dream dictionary but the other day I walked into my local Barnes & Noble and this book was sitting in the entryway (which I normally never glance at when I walk into the store) and caught my eye, like it was calling me. I bought it immediately.

Chin-Tanner, Wendy. Anyone Will Tell You. Little Rock, AR: Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019.

Chin-Tanner gave a strong poetry reading at Utica College last week. I was happy to buy one of her books.

González, Christopher. Permissable Narratives: The Promise of Latino/a Literature. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2017.

Morales, Ed. Fantasy Island: Colonialism, Exploitation, and the Betrayal of Puerto Rico. New York: Bold Type Books, 2019.

Schaefer, Donovan O. Religious Affects: Animality, Evolution, and Power. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.

I am interested in affect theory and my work has been dialoguing with religious ideas more and more over the past year, so this book may be helpful for my thinking.

Swarstad Johnson, Julie. Pennsylvania Furnace. Greensboro, NC: Unicorn Press, 2019.

I met Swarstad Johnson this past weekend at the Cincinnati Mennonite Arts Festival, where she was one of the presenters. We had some good conversations and I enjoyed hearing her work. I was pleased to buy her book. It’s always exciting to discover new Mennonite writers!

 

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Sabbatical Productivity: January

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 January (along with the end of December after the Fall semester ended), generally in chronological order.

1. Wrote and submitted an invited abstract for a possible issue of Political Theology on Mennonite political theology.

2. Accepted an invitation to write an essay for a collection about new “Anabaptist Visions” and sent the editor a rough proposal for the essay’s topic.

3. Wrote and submitted an abstract for the 2020 Mennonite/s Writing conference.

4. Wrote a rough draft of a panel proposal (link here, and see number 14) for the 2021 MLA convention on Dungeons & Dragons.

5. Typed up the senryu I wrote between mid-October and the beginning of January.

6. Worked on revising my current book project (this continued throughout the month).

7. Asked two friends to read a draft of the book project and they both accepted.

8. Attended and presented at the 2020 MLA convention and got helpful feedback on my presentation.

9. Evaluated abstracts for the 2020 Mennonite/s Writing conference and worked with another member of the organizing committee on a draft conference program. Read a few late abstracts throughout the month.

10. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing in the U.S. Bibliography.

11. Compiled a list of authors who have published books with Pinchpenny Press (including myself!) who are currently involved in the Mennonite literary scene for the upcoming Pinchpenny anniversary celebration.

12. Emailed a fellow Mennonite literary critic working on a paper about David Bergen, who I have written about (see section 3).

13. Began prepping a new course for the Fall 2020 semester, Latinx Literature.

14. Talked with a colleague about co-facilitating the 2021 MLA convention panel on Dungeons & Dragons mentioned in number 4, agreed to do so, and submitted the Call for Papers.

15. Looked at other 2021 MLA CFPs and made notes on which panels I might want to submit abstracts to.

 

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