Tag Archives: MLA

Sabbatical Productivity: May

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 May, generally in chronological order. I did less than in some previous months (you can read about what I accomplished in April here) because it’s been difficult to be productive due to the pandemic. I feel like I am slowly getting back on track, though.

1. Finished and submitted a book review of Nikki Reimer’s My Heart is a Rose Manhattan.

2. Updated the Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies and blog throughout the month.

3. Wrote a draft of an essay about Mennonite speculative fiction for a special journal issue on Mennonite political theology.

4. Agreed to peer review a book in one of my fields for a university press and received the manuscript.

5. Had a special session panel proposal for MLA 2021 on Dungeons & Dragons that I co-authored accepted.

6. Agreed to serve on the MLA’s Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada for a three-year term.

7. Began writing my portion of a Call for Papers for an essay anthology that a colleague and I are working on.

8. Emailed presenters from the Mennonite/s Writing IX conference that was scheduled for October 2020 to let them know that it has been postponed to October 2021 due to the pandemic.

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Books Acquired Recently

Duke University Press is having a 50% off sale through the end of this month, so I ordered two of their recent releases.

Brim, Matt. Poor Queer Studies: Confronting Elitism in the University. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

Brim and I were on the same panel at MLA this past January, and he seems like a nice guy, so I was pleased when I saw that he has a new book out. We both teach at schools with large first-generation college student populations, thus I expect his book to be helpful for my own teaching.

Kumar, Amitava. Every Day I Write the Book: Notes on Style. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.

I love books about academia and find it helpful as a refresher for my writing to read a style manual every once in a while, and thus was intrigued when I got an email advertising this new book. At 50% off I couldn’t resist.

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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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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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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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Books Acquired Recently: All Queer Edition

Brolaski, Julian T. Gowanus Atropolis. Brooklyn: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011.

Someone on one of the panels I attended at the recent MLA Convention mentioned this book and the title stuck in my head. Then about a week ago I was reading Heid E. Erdrich’s anthology New Poets of Native Nations, which includes some poems from Brolaski’s book. I enjoyed them, so decided to buy the collection.

Moraga, Cherríe L. Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Pasó por Sus Labios. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2000.

This is a queer Latinx feminist classic that is sadly out of print. I have been looking for a reasonably-priced copy for some time and finally found one online.

Pico, Tommy. Nature Poem. Portland, OR: Tin House Books, 2017.

I have heard Pico’s name but did not encounter his work until reading Erdrich’s anthology. I loved the pieces I read and decided to order one of his books immediately.

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Books Acquired Recently

Acevedo, Elizabeth. The Poet X. New York: HarperTeen, 2018.

I heard about this book at a panel at the recent MLA convention and it sounded interesting enough that I decided to buy it. I will be teaching a Latinx Literature course in the fall for the first time, so I am trying to read as much recent Latinx lit as possible as I think about what to put on the syllabus.

Piatote, Beth. The Beadworkers: Stories. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint Press, 2019.

I just recently found out about Piatote, who attends a Mennonite church and thus can be considered a Mennonite writer. As such, she falls within my scholarly purview.

Smith, Danez. Homie: Poems. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2020.

I read Smith’s previous book, Don’t Call Us Dead, earlier this year and loved it, so I pre-ordered this new collection as soon as I heard about it. It came this week.

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Books Acquired Recently

Gurba, Myriam. Painting Their Portraits in Winter: Short Stories. San Francisco: Manic D Press, 2015.

I saw a presentation on the title story of this collection at MLA two weeks ago and decided to check it out because of its speculative nature.

Loveless, Natalie, ed. Knowings and Knots: Methodologies and Ecologies in Research-creation. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2020.

I read Loveless’s book on research-creation, How to Make Art at the End of the World, about six months ago and loved it, so I pre-ordered this edited collection on the subject. It arrived last week.

Wald, Sarah D., David J. Vázquez, Priscilla Solis Ybarra, and Sarah Jaquette Ray, eds. Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2019.

I heard Priscilla Solis Ybarra speak at MLA and she mentioned that this collection had just come out. It is especially timely considering the crises at the U.S.-Mexico border and in Puerto Rico that have been exacerbated by the Orange One’s administration.

 

 

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Books Acquired Recently: MLA Edition

This past week I attended the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, which was held in Seattle this year. One of my favorite aspects of going to MLA is browsing the book fair, which usually has a good mix of academic and commercial publishers represented. Almost all of the publishers have sales and some give away books, so I acquired sixteen books for only $179.50 total. The Bacchilega and Brown, de Foïard-Brown and Nelson, Diaz, Quinoñez, and Vuong were free. The Erdrich, Greenwell, Smith, and Tariq were only $5.00 apiece. I would have bought more but I intentionally did not leave much room in my suitcase for my acquisitions so that I would not spend too much.

Ahmed, Sara. What’s the Use? On the Uses of Use. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019.

Bacchilega, Cristina, and Marie Alohalani Brown, eds. The Penguin Book of Mermaids. New York: Penguin Books, 2019.

Berlant, Lauren, ed. Reading Sedgwick. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019.

de Foïard-Brown, Jacques, and Marilyn Nelson. The Baobab Room. N.p.: Little Bound Books, 2019.

Nelson gave a reading on Saturday night at which she handed out ten free, signed copies of this book. Luckily, I was sitting in the front row and was thus able to get one.

Diaz, Natalie. Postcolonial Love Poem. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2020.

This book does not come out until March but the publisher was giving away signed advance reader’s copies.

Erdrich, Heid E., ed. New Poets of Native Nations. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2018.

Ghaziani, Amin, and Matt Brim, eds. Imagining Queer Methods. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

Incidentally, Brim and I presented on the same panel, Black Queer Contributions.

Greenwell, Garth. Cleanness. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

This is the first book I have acquired with a 2020 publication date! It technically doesn’t come out until later this month.

Quinoñez, Ernesto. Taína. New York: Vintage Books, 2019.

Ruiz, Sandra. Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

Sanchez, Melissa E. Queer Faith: Reading Promiscuity and Race in the Secular Love Tradition. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

Smith, Carmen Giménez. Be Recorder: Poems. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2019.

Stockton, Kathryn Bond. Avidly Reads Making Out. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

Tariq, Malcolm. Heed the Hollow: Poems. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2019.

Thurm, Eric. Avidly Reads Board Games. New York: New York University Press, 2019.

Vuong, Ocean. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. New York: Penguin Press, 2019.

 

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Books Acquired Recently

Awkward-Rich, Cameron. Dispatch: Poems. New York: Persea Books, 2019.

I met Awkward-Rich at MLA last year and since then have become a fan of his work. His new poetry collection just came out and I ordered it right away.

Harris, Middleton A., ed. The Black Book. 1974. New York: Random House, 2009.

This book is famous because Toni Morrison was the Random House editor who worked on the original edition, and while doing so she read the newspaper clipping that became the inspiration for her 1987 novel Beloved, one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. I have always been interested in reading Harris’s book because of this genesis story. I recently got a promotional email about a new hardcover printing and ordered an exam copy for consideration in my African American Literature course.

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