Tag Archives: writing

My Article in the New York Times

About a month ago I was contacted by an editor from the New York Times who asked whether I would be interested in writing an article to accompany a photo essay about Mennonites in Belize. I said yes, and the article was published today. You can read it here.

Aside from several pieces in the Goshen College Record when I was in college, this is the first time I have written for a newspaper, and it was an interesting experience. I had to think about a very different kind of question when writing for a general audience than when writing for a scholarly one. It is also fascinating to me that the online headline, “A Simple Life,” is different from the one in the print edition, “Mennonites in Belize.” I am grateful to have had this opportunity to grow as a writer.

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Queer Mennonite Literature Special Issue

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!

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An Interview with Me

I am happy to report that I just got interviewed on the fantastic Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian website! You can read the interview, which discusses my queer reading practices, here.

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Books Acquired Recently: Mennonites Plus One Edition

My recent book-buying binge has included a number of Mennonite authors. Aside from the Wes Funk books, which I ordered from Laird Books in Regina, Saskatchewan (and who provided excellent customer service), I acquired all of the Mennonite-related books from amazon.com’s network of independent sellers.

Birdsell, Sandra. Agassiz: A Novel in Stories. Minneapolis: Milkweed, 1991.

I haven’t read much of Birdsell’s work though she was one of the influential Mennonite writers at the beginning of the “Mennonite miracle” in Canadian writing during the 1980s. I decided that this summer would be a good time to remedy this lack.

Funk, Wes. Cherry Blossoms. Regina: Your Nickel’s Worth, 2012.

—. Dead Rock Stars. Illus. Kevin Hastings. Regina: Your Nickel’s Worth, 2015.

—. Wes Side Story: A Memoir. Regina: Your Nickel’s Worth, 2014.

I recently heard about Funk’s work. It is apparently explicitly queer, which is exciting because queer Mennonite literature is a major research interest of mine. I bought copies of all of his books that I could find (there’s one more that I haven’t been able to find anywhere).

Janzen, Jean. Elements of Faithful Writing. Kitchener: Pandora, 2004.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I haven’t read much of Janzen’s work, but am trying to remedy that. This book is one that gets cited often in metacritical discussions of Mennonite literature, and thus feels essential for me to read.

Waltner-Toews, David. One Foot in Heaven. Regina: Couteau, 2005.

I love Waltner-Toews’s poetry and am excited to read some of his fiction.

Yaguchi, Yorifumi. The Wing-Beaten Air: My Life and My Writing. Intercourse: Good, 2008.

I also really enjoy Yaguchi’s poetry, and look forward to reading this memoir.

The “plus one” referred to in the title of this post is the new Modern Language Association style manual, which I received free because I am an  MLA member:

MLA Handbook. 8th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2016.

Once I get a chance to read this I will have to write a post about how I feel about the changes, but just flipping through it and seeing some of the different formatting I am flipping out, and not in a good way. Double-plus ungood. I will have to decide whether or not to use the new formatting for my citations in future posts.

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Books Acquired Recently

Lee, Catherine J.S., ed. A Splash of Water: Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology 2015. New York: Haiku Society of America, 2015.

Each year the Haiku Society of America publishes an anthology of work by its members on a specific theme, and each member receives a copy. This year’s theme was water. I’ve read about half of it thus far, and despite the repetition of subject matter a number of the poems are compelling.

Zacharias, Robert, ed. After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. University Park: Penn State UP, 2015.

I was very excited to receive this book in the mail today because it is my contributor’s copy! My essay, “Queering Mennonite Literature,” appears on pages 143-58. The book is a collection of revised essays from a 2013 symposium at Penn State on identity issues in Mennonite literature. My essay is nestled between chapters by Di Brandt and Jeff Gundy, two poets and  critics whose work has played a major role in my life, and it is a dream come true to be published alongside them. Another of my favorite poets, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, also has an essay in the volume.

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Books Acquired Recently

Hertz, Sue. Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling. Los Angeles: Sage, 2015.

I have been wanting to write more creative nonfiction, and while I’ve had a bit of success getting published in the genre in the past I still don’t feel like I have a good sense of how to write compelling pieces of it consistently. Therefore, when I was offered an exam copy of this book I was happy to take it with the hope that it will help improve my own writing as well as potentially my students’.

Howard, Tim, with Ali Benjamin. The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them. New York: Harper, 2014.

I received this book as a birthday present. Howard is the best American goalkeeper ever, and I am excited to read about his life in the sport that obsesses me.

Schulman, Sarah. Rat Bohemia. New York: Dutton, 1995.

A friend recently recommended this novel to me, and I am especially excited to read it now that I see that it has a blurb from Tony Kushner, whose work I love. I bought it from amazon.com’s network of independent booksellers.

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A New Book Review

I just had a review of Ewuare X. Osayande’s poetry anthology Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin & Marissa Alexander published in Your Impossible Voice. As I say in the review, it is an important book, and its proceeds go to a worthy cause. You can buy the book here under the “Buy the Book” tab.

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