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  • 1 read more Five Poems

    Five Poems

    by Yorifumi Yaguchi

    Yaguchi has also contributed five of his peace-oriented poems for this issue. Published earlier in Japan, they appear here with permission of the author.

  • 0 read more The Movement for Non-Defended Localities in Sapporo, Japan

    The Movement for Non-Defended Localities in Sapporo, Japan

    by Yorifumi Yaguchi

    In his essay, "The Movement for Non-Defended Localities," Yaguchi favors us with an account of the way he used two of his poems in a public, official meeting to try to persuade local authorities in his home district to make Sapporo a "non-defended" location. The incident is a fascinating illustration of how poetry can be used in the praxis of peace-seeking.

  • 1 read more Poems for Peace in China

    Poems for Peace in China

    by Wilbur Birky

    In May 2008 Birky was invited to visit China with Yaguchi on behalf of Mennonite Partners in China. Yaguchi was to read his poems and Birky was to comment on them, as well as make presentations on American literature and the English language. It was hoped that Yaguchi's presence and poems would be a gesture toward peace-making between China and Japan, in light of the hostile feelings that still exist in China toward Japan because of atrocities during World War II. Although their planned itinerary was much curtailed because of the earthquake in Sichuan province, some successful meetings were held, and Birky describes a number of encounters in his journal narrative, "Poems for Peace in China."

  • 1 read more Staring Down the Muzzle from Yamoto to Baghdad

    Staring Down the Muzzle from Yamoto to Baghdad

    by Wilbur Birky

    Birky's essay, "Staring Down the Muzzle," relates Yaguchi's life and experience, during World War II and since, to his poems and his activism for peace in Japan. The original version of Birky's essay was presented at the "Mennonite/s Writing: Beyond Borders" conference on Mennonite literature at Bluffton University in 2006. That conference paper, in turn, was a follow up to Birky's earlier paper on Yaguchi at the "Mennonite/s Writing: An International Conference" at Goshen College in 2002, when the question of Mennonite poets writing on peace was first raised.

  • 1 read more Wing-Beaten Air

    Wing-Beaten Air

    by John J. Fisher

    Yaguchi's new memoir, The Wing-Beaten Air, is reviewed by John Fisher.

  • 1 read more The Mother Tongue in Cyberspace

    The Mother Tongue in Cyberspace

    by Magdalene Redekop

    In her essay, "The Mother Tongue in Cyberspace," Magdalene Redekop presents a wide-ranging discussion of orality, mother tongue and ethnicity, especially in relation to literary writings by Mennonites. Her mother tongue, of course, is one variant of the Plautdietsch dialect spoken by-or at least familiar to—many descendants of Russian Mennonite immigrants to Canada and the United States. Although some entire literary texts have been written in that dialect, notably the Koop enn Bua stories of Arnold Dyck, Plautdietsch more often appears as words, phrases or sayings in writings in English. The effect is almost always humorous. To her essay she adds a special treat: her own reading of a selection from the Koop enn Bua stories.

  • 0 read more Four Radio Poems

    Four Radio Poems

    by Carl Haarer

    Carl Haarer, using the professional name of Carl Stevens, may be the best known poet in New England. As a reporter for radio station WBZ Boston, which has the widest range in the New England states, Carl from time to time reads on the air his poems based on current news. The selection below includes poems about the Obama inauguration; the disgraced governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer; the too-long primary election campaign of Hillary Clinton; and the baseball rivalry of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees—all published in 2008 and 2009. Although Haarer's poems may be less "literary" than those read daily on the radio by Garrison Keillor, they are perfectly composed for his mass, news-informed audience. The poems may remind us of other currently popular poetic genres, such as rap and cowboy poetry.

  • 5 read more The East Window

    The East Window

    by Bob Johnson

    The short story, "The East Window," by Bob Johnson depicts a dysfunctional Mennonite-Amish family and raises some intriguing theological possibilities. Is the story more "about" Rodney's experience in the barn? Or about his uncle who observes the disaster? Some of the cultural context is implied by the spellings of rural northern Indiana dialect speech, as recalled from his childhood. Does the use of dialect in otherwise mainstream literature imply condescension—either humor or class bias—by the narrator or author?

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