Tag Archives: Mennonites

Books Acquired Recently: Ervin Beck Edition

Ervinbooks

The above photograph shows the 51 books that my former professor Ervin Beck gave me when I visited his home in Goshen, Indiana, last week. I took his Mennonite Literature course my junior year of college and have basically been obsessed with the field since then. He generously let me take a selection of his books in the field as part of his retirement downsizing.

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Books Acquired Recently

Loewen, Mary Ann, ed. Finding Father: Stories from Mennonite Daughters. Regina, SK: University of Regina Press, 2019.

I pre-ordered this book from amazon.ca as soon as I could because it includes a number of chapters by authors involved with Mennonite literature. It came in the mail earlier this week.

Weinberg, Jonathan. Pier Groups: Art and Sex Along the New York Waterfront. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019.

I got a promotional email about this memoir about gay sex in New York City from the publisher and ordered it immediately. It includes a number of lovely photographs, many of them explicit.

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Books Acquired Recently

Camp Deerpark. Forever God is Faithful: The Story of Camp Deerpark. Westbrookville, NY: Camp Deerpark/Morgantown, PA: Masthof Press, 2019.

Camp Deerpark is a camp owned by the New York City Mennonite churches. I spent lots of time there as a kid because my parents have always been heavily involved with it (my mom was the director for a few years). This year is its fiftieth anniversary, so, in true Mennonite archival fever fashion, it has published a book to commemorate the occasion. My parents sent me a copy in the mail which I look forward to reading.

The Chicago Manual of Style. 17th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.

I have shifted away from using MLA style in my scholarship since the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook came out because it is clearly geared toward students rather than scholars. I’ve been using Chicago style instead, and finally decided to break down and buy the seventeenth edition. I purchased it and Gundy’s book from amazon.com.

Gundy, Jeff. Without a Plea. Huron, OH: Bottom Dog Press, 2019.

I bought this book, Gundy’s latest poetry collection, as soon as it came out last month. I have already read it and it is a fascinating, thought-provoking work, definitely ranking in the top half of his poetry books.

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Books Acquired Recently

I’m currently working on a memoir project that is in large part about my Mennonite upbringing. I bought all three of these books as resources.

Caws, Peter, and Stefani Jones, eds. Religious Upbringing and the Costs of Freedom: Personal and Philosophical Essays. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010.

MacKendrick, Karmen. Failing Desire. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018.

Remer, Molly. She Lives Her Poems: Moments from a Year in the Forest. N.p.: Brigid’s Grove, 2018.

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Books Acquired Recently

Brautigan, Richard. Revenge of the Lawn, The Abortion, So the Wind Won’t Blow It All Away: (Three Books in the Manner of Their First Editions). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.

I received this omnibus edition of three of Brautigan’s books as a Valentine’s Day present. The only book by Brautigan that I’ve read is Trout Fishing in America, and that was about 17 years ago, so it will be good to have a fresh dive into his work.

Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master’s Guide. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2014.

Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2014.

Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2014.

Some friends and I have recently started playing Dungeons & Dragons (yes, dear reader, it was possible for me to get even more nerdy). After completing our first adventure, we decided that we want to continue playing, so I decided to buy the box set of playing manuals. I purchased these, Williams’s, and Womack’s books from amazon.com.

Williams, David. When the English Fall. 2017. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books, 2018.

This is a novel about how the Amish fare after an apocalyptic natural event. It sounds like a similar premise as Leigh Brackett’s science fiction classic The Long Tomorrow, which assumes that Mennonites will come to prominence after the fall of current American society because they are used to living simply without modern technology. Williams’s biographical statement says he is a Presbyterian, but in his author photo he is wearing an Amish-style beard, so I wonder if he is ex-Amish or has Amish ancestry.

Womack, Ytasha L. Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2013.

My current research project is about two African American speculative fiction writers, Samuel R. Delany and Sofia Samatar, so I thought I should do some reading about Afrofuturism, which I know a little about, but not much.

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Books Acquired Recently

Davis, Todd. Native Species. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2019.

Davis is a former professor of mine and he also kindly blurbed my new book. Native Species is his six full-length collection of poetry. I bought it directly from the publisher.

Gallop, Jane. Anecdotal Theory. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

I loved Gallop’s most recent book, Sexuality, Disability, and Aging, in which she discusses her earlier book Anecdotal Theory. The latter work sounds like it is relevant for my current project so I bought a copy from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

Giovanni, Nikki. A Good Cry: What We Learn from Tears and Laughter. 2017. New York: William Morrow, 2018.

I received this signed copy from a friend who attended Giovanni’s reading at Colgate University earlier this week. I enjoy Giovanni’s work–I have one of her poems on my office door–but have not read any of her recent stuff, so I am looking forward to diving into this volume.

Whitman, Walt. “Leaves of Grass” and Other Writings. Edited by Michael Moon. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002.

I love Whitman, and thus ordered this exam copy from the publisher in order to read its paratext.

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Queering Mennonite Literature: Archiving, Activism, and the Search for Community

I am excited to announce that my book Queering Mennonite Literature: Archives, Activism, and the Search for Community has just been released by Penn State University Press!

Though the terms “queer” and “Mennonite” rarely come into theoretical or cultural contact, over the last several decades writers and scholars in the United States and Canada have built a body of queer Mennonite literature that shifts these identities into conversation. I bring this growing genre into a critical focus, bridging the gaps between queer theory, literary criticism, and Mennonite literature.

My analysis focuses on recent Mennonite-authored literary texts that espouse queer theoretical principles, including work by Christina Penner, Wes Funk, Jan Guenther Braun, Jessica Penner, Stephen Beachy, Corey Redekop, Casey Plett, Miriam Suzanne, and Sofia Samatar. Their books argue for the existence of a “queer Mennonite” identity on the basis of shared values: a commitment to social justice, a rejection of binaries, the importance of creative approaches to conflict resolution, and the practice of mutual aid, especially in resisting oppression. The book encourages those engaging with both Mennonite studies and queer studies to explore the opportunity for conversation and overlap between the two fields.

By arguing for engagement between these two identities and highlighting the aspects of Mennonitism that are inherently “queer,” the book gives much-needed attention to an emerging subfield of Mennonite literature. It makes a new and important intervention into the fields of queer theory, literary studies, Mennonite studies, and religious studies.

You can find Queering Mennonite Literature on the Penn State University Press web site at this URL: http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-27-108245-5.html. You can get 30% off by using the code NR18. Please ask your local libraries, whether institutional or public, to order a copy.

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