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.
I recently read Nikki Reimer’s My Heart is a Rose Manhattan and loved it. I decided to buy her previous two collections as a result, and they came in the mail today.
Reimer, Nikki. DOWNVERSE. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2014.
—. [sic]. Calgary: Frontenac House, 2010.
I just joined PM Press’s Friends of PM program, which sends subscribers several books each month for a flat fee of $30.00. It’s like a leftist Book of the Month Club! I got my first shipment today. There were three books. One is a vegan cookbook that I’m giving away, but these are the two that I am keeping:
Phillips, Gary. The Jook. Oakland: PM Press, 2009.
I am excited to see that this novel is about American football because there are almost no novels about the sport. There is Don DeLillo’s End Zone and Chuck Klosterman’s Downtown Owl (and even this one is a stretch), and that’s about it.
Stout, Mike. Homestead Steel Mill: The Final Ten Years; USWA Local 1397 and the Fight for Union Democracy. Oakland: PM Press, 2020.
The cover photograph of this book shows a bunch of workers at a protest yelling with their middle fingers raised.
Coleman, Wanda. Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems. Edited by Terrance Hayes. Boston: Black Sparrow Press, 2020.
I love Coleman’s work and am sad that she is not more well-known or more frequently read. I am very excited that this posthumous Selected Poems has come out so that new readers can discover her.
Doty, Mark. What is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life. New York: W.W. Norton, 2020.
I love Whitman, queer memoir, and poetry, and thus when I heard about this book several months ago I pre-ordered it immediately. My copy came yesterday.
Reimer, Nikki. My Heart is a Rose Manhattan. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2019.
I am reviewing this poetry collection for the Journal of Mennonite Studies, and my review copy came today.