Mennonite Writing of the Post Colony

Sofia Samatar, in our spring 2017 issue (vol. 9, 2), offered a vision of a world Mennonite literature in her essay, The Scope of the Project. The writers for such a literature already exist, Samatar writes, but “like any literature, world Mennonite literature has to be created. That is the daunting truth, the vast scope of this project.”

This issue on Writing Across Borders offers a sampling of Mennonite Writing from one of the groups included in Samatar’s world vision, namely “the work of minority writers in North America, of black, Latinx, and indigenous Mennonites, whom I include in the postcolony, not only because they are marginalized members of settler states but because, historically, they came to the Mennonite community through a process of missionary outreach.” To cross borders between Eurocentric ethnic Mennonite literature and world Mennonite literature, Samatar suggests focusing on the form of song and the theme of diaspora.

Rafael Falcon, retired from a career as a professor at Goshen College, offers his story of “becoming Mennonite” in Puerto Rico, a story of home and displacement and diaspora. Raylene Hinz-Penner, Elsa Goosen and Elisabet Barrios offer a collaborative correspondence that uses poetry to cross borders in the spirit of song. Finally, Samatar’s keynote address from the June 2017 conference held at Eastern Mennonite University, “Crossing the Line: Women from Anabaptist Traditions Cross Borders and Boundaries,” plays with multiple levels of place and displacement—and the ways in which artists appropriate and mirror back to us images of ourselves.

This issue will be followed, in October, by an issue devoted to works presented at the “Crossing the Line” conference. We hope to offer another issue that focuses on Latinx Mennonite writing in the summer of 2018. Meanwhile, we welcome your submissions, suggestions, and comments on the articles. We are eager to create a space for collaborating on the creation of a world Mennonite Literature.

Ann Hostetler

About the Author

Ann Hostetler

Ann Hostetler is the editor of A Cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry (Univ. of Iowa Press 2003) and author of two collections of poems, Empty Room with Light (Dreamseeker 2002) and Safehold (Dreamseeker 2017). Her poems and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies including The American Scholar, Poet Lore, The Valparaiso Poetry Review,Rhubarb Magazine, Testimonies and Tongue Screws: Poems, Stories, and Essays Inspired by the Martyr's Mirror, Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets (2010), The Mennonite Quarterly Review and PMLA . Professor Emerita of English at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, Hostetler is the web site editor of the Center for Mennonite Writing and co-editor of its Journal. She directed the 2022 Mennonite/s Writing conference at Goshen College.