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  • 1 read more Featured Poet: Katie Lehman Pierce

    Featured Poet: Katie Lehman Pierce

    by Katie Lehman Pierce

    Garden Talk

    In western Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, a Victorian walled garden stands on the grounds of Kylemore Abbey. The abbey, formerly known as Kylemore Castle, and its elaborate estate was built by a wealthy doctor in the 1860s. Since the 1920s, however, Kylemore has belonged to a community of Benedictine nuns. One particular nun and I worked within the mostly unkempt and hidden six-acre garden, tending to a small apple orchard and vegetable beds. The mystique of the garden and its history, including the Victorian women and gentlemen who had once traversed there, was riddled in the lavish undergrowth ...

  • 0 read more Rudy Wiebe’s Reconstruction(s) of the Indian Voice

    Rudy Wiebe’s Reconstruction(s) of the Indian Voice

    by Wolfgang Hochbruck

    This essay originally appeared in RANAM: Recherches Anglaises et Nord-Américaines 22 (1989), 135-142, published by the University of Strasbourg

  • 0 read more

    “The tail end of a five-hundred-year experiment that has failed”:

    by Christoph Wiebe

    Translated from the German by Gerhard Reimer

  • 5 read more My Mennonite Identity

    My Mennonite Identity

    by J. Daniel Hess

    My Mennonite identity is like a thread made of strong stuff, although at places the thread has grown thin, but then it has thickened again. This thread isn’t stretched out in a straight horizontal like the 40th parallel. Rather, like a pilgrim’s path, the line meanders and dips and rises and crosses over itself and sometimes gets lost in thickets and even intersects occasionally with modern highways. Such a zig-zag route has resulted in a fabric somewhat like a shawl thrown lightly over my perceived self.

    If you want to follow this thread, you begin in a simple post-Depression Mennonite ...

  • 0 read more Three Garden Poems

    Three Garden Poems

    by J. Daniel Hess


    Since you can’t
    wait any longer
    I went to Ace Hardware
    paid $42.50 for an orchard net
    got out two step ladders
    set the big one on the west side
    the little one on the east
    of the serviceberry
    then climbing the big ladder
    higher than I like
    I pulled the net up and over
    using clothespins to close gaps.
    That’s why some of you crashed
    before you reached dessert.
    I mean no nastiness,
    just a bit of sharing.
    On Monday I’ll pick
    two pails, enough for cereal
    and two jars of jam. Then
    I’ll call Teddy and ...

  • 0 read more Branching Out from One Foundation

    Branching Out from One Foundation

    by Martha Yoder Maust

    They say that Menno Simons’ favorite Bible verse was 1 Corinthians 3:11: “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (NIV). Menno might be dismayed to find a church calling itself Mennonite. He might have been happier with the Meserete Kristos Church in Ethiopia, which set aside the name of Menno for a name that means “Christ Is the Foundation.”

    Menno might also be surprised to see that the Mennonite Church, after times of persecution and withdrawal, came to be identified with certain ethnic groups. My own ancestors were ...

  • 0 read more Gleaners


    by Martha Yoder Maust

    The mural on the west wall of the old Gleaners Food Bank building depicts men and women bending over in a posture of perpetual backache, strong hands picking up grains under a hot sun. Inside the building, more privileged hands put in their service hours lifting and sorting the donations from churches and postal customers, to be distributed to food pantries all over town.

    I walk along the Monon Trail beside the mural, picking up aluminum cans to recycle. The shirt I’m wearing is one I found on the sidewalk along 25th St., and last month I found a ...

  • 0 read more Bogart and Being Mennonite

    Bogart and Being Mennonite

    by Ryan Ahlgrim

    At the end of 1961, when I was four years old, my family moved from one suburb of Chicago to another, and my mother sought a new church for our family to attend. She and my father had been raised Lutheran, and I had been baptized as an infant in the United Church of Christ, but denominational labels didn’t really matter to them. My mother simply wanted to find a congregation that was friendly, genuine and did not teach that her stillborn baby was in hell because he hadn’t been baptized (as a previous pastor had informed her).

    One Sunday ...

  • 0 read more Mom’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Party

    Mom’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Party

    by Ryan Ahlgrim

    “I’m dying,” said Mom matter-of-factly, sitting on the couch in my family room with my wife and children gathered around her.

    I was not surprised. She had suffered a heart attack six months earlier, and I had heard a rumor that an x-ray revealed a tumor in one of her lungs. Considering that she had been living in a nicotine fog for all of her seventy-seven years, dying from a cigarette addiction had always been a strong possibility. Even as a little boy, I remember her going to the bathroom periodically to hack her guts out. But what had ...

  • 0 read more An Aggressive Mennonite

    An Aggressive Mennonite

    by Rodney Deaton

    I am an aggressive man. And I am a Mennonite.

    Live with it.

    A bizarre way to begin an essay on Mennonite identity, I agree. Please feel free to substitute a cognate of your choosing should the word aggressive be too, well, aggressive for your taste. “Assertive” has always been au courant in empathic circles. “Zealous” might work for the ethically minded. Admittedly I have always had a soft spot for “brassy.” Yet pardon me if I stick with my original. After all, it seems counterproductive to check self-determination against the sensitivities of others.

    But, then, maybe that’s the ...