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  • 0 read more Introduction to After Identity: Reflections

    Introduction to After Identity: Reflections

    by Ann Hostetler

    In May of 2013, a dozen scholars[1] of Mennonite literature from the United States and Canada gathered in University Park, Pennsylvania for a three-day symposium on After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. The title evokes the paradox of studying literature in an ethnic or cultural context even as it references the series of Mennonite/s Writing conferences held in the US and Canada every few years since 1990. The premise of this gathering was to address a new turn in cultural studies: how to approach literary production by specific cultural groups after the identity-preoccupied discussions of the late ...

  • 1 read more Who's a Mennonite?

    Who's a Mennonite?

    by Jan Schroeder

    The late writer David Rakoff once joked about Canadians' tendency to designate Canadian-born celebrities as Canadian. As Montréal-born Rakoff put it, "if you mention a famous Canadian to a Canadian without acknowledging it, there's a vague flicker over their eyes like the shadow of an angel's wing passing." The claim has many functions. It asserts a hidden knowledge of the celebrity's difference (primarily from US American celebrities), one that only other Canadians recognize. What that difference is, no one can precisely say, but the claim reserves the possibility that there just might be something unique about "Canadians ...

  • 0 read more The Noise of Identity: Turning to Attentiveness and the Receptive Ear

    The Noise of Identity: Turning to Attentiveness and the Receptive Ear

    by Margaret Steffler

    Both Magdalene Redekop and Hildi Froese Tiessen refer to the work of Wai Chee Dimock in their contributions to After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America. In the case of Redekop, this is to ground her chapter in Dimock's "theory of resonance," which argues that texts "touched" by "readers on different wavelengths" result in "unexpected vibrations in unexpected places" (Dimock, "Resonance" 1061 quoted in Redokop 200). For Tiessen, Dimock is evoked in order to heed warnings against "literary causality" derived from prescribing to "a territorial [or territorialized] jurisdiction" and "analytical domain[s] foreclosed by definition" (Dimock, Through 3 quoted ...

  • 0 read more Crochet


    by Connie T. Braun

    A yarn: a strand of fibre.

    In the winter evenings when the sunlight has faded, my mother crochets an afghan. Occasionally, she'll knit one, and as she knits and purls, the yarn flows as a river through a valley. But usually, she'll crochet. Her hands work the yarn, and row by row a mantle of colour and texture grows. From a grey-blue strand, she crochets a blanket of ocean. Then a rolling field in soft shades of sage, or wheat and rye. Night after night, my mother's hands work the fibre, back and forth, the yarn's ...

  • 1 read more Three Poems from Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words

    Three Poems from Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words

    by Connie T. Braun

    from a memoir in poems dedicated to the author's mother, and to the memory of her grandmother. Reprinted with permission of the author.

  • 0 read more Reflections on Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words by Connie Braun

    Reflections on Unspoken: An Inheritance of Words by Connie Braun

    by Micah Towery

    Before selling her house and moving into assisted living, my grandmother bequeathed a green and white box of papers to my aunt. My aunt passed it to me. The idea was that, as a writer, I could do something meaningful with it.

    I was a senior in college, and I sifted through the box. There were a few poignant letters, written to my grandmother after my grandfather’s suicide, but mostly the box contained a few poems my grandmother had written and obsessively recopied, some John Birch society publications, and a number of pocket-sized copies of the US Constitution.

    The box ...

  • 0 read more Appendix: 2016 Publications

    Appendix: 2016 Publications

    by Ann Hostetler

    Selected Works from Mennonite Writers, 2016 (and thereabouts)

    Roni Baerg,Mit den Wolken Fliegen: Bericht aus einem fernen Leben.Fiction/Memoir. (Zytglogge, 2016)

    Stephen Beachy, Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity. Fiction. (Amazon Create Space, 2017)

    Ervin Beck, MennoFolk3. Nonfiction. (Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing, October 2016)

    David Bergen, Stranger. Fiction. (HarperCollins, 2016-Canada; USA – June 2017)

    Judy Clemens, Tag, You're Dead. Fiction. (Poisoned Pen Press, 2016. Blackstone Audio, 2016)

    Todd Davis, Winterkill. Poetry. (Michigan State UP, 2016)

    Drew Hart,Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. Nonfiction. (Herald

    Press, 2016)

    Jeff Gundy, Menno ...

  • 0 read more Preface and Title Page

    Preface and Title Page

    by Ann Hostetler

    This month we proudly publish our first book in a single issue. MennoFolk 3 is the new collection of Mennonite folklore and stories by Ervin Beck, whose two previous volumes have been published by Herald Press. Ervin's readable, succinct style will entertain and provoke you with many Mennonite puns, tales, and riddles you've never heard before, and place others that may seem familiar. Don Swartzentruber's playful pop-Mennonite paintings create a lively conversation with the text. Delve in and enjoy! We hope to eventually make this book available in paper form through our Painted Glass press, which is under construction. - Ann Hostetler, co-editor

  • 1 read more Introduction: The Gordon Factor

    Introduction: The Gordon Factor

    by Ervin Beck

    My good friend Gordon Yoder always has a new story to tell. Since he knows of my special interest in Mennonite and Amish stories, he takes the initiative in telling me his latest one. Invariably, he begins: "There was this Mennonite woman . . ." or "There was this Amish man . . ."

    Sometimes his stories make it into my collection. But, lately, more often they do not because their contents have little or nothing at all to do with recognizably Mennonite or Amish experience. So Gordon has becomes my best critic, since the message he implicitly conveys is that there is little that is ...

  • 0 read more Defining Mennonite: Puns and Riddles

    Defining Mennonite: Puns and Riddles

    by Ervin Beck

    The quest for authentic Mennonite narratives will actually begin with names, puns and riddle-jokes. Most riddle jokes do embody highly condensed narratives. But my thesis is that these elementary, gnomic forms of folklore are inherently more fixed—and least subject to alterations, variants and The Gordon Factor—than are other kinds of folklore. Consequently, they constitute more distinctively Mennonite ethnic lore than do most narratives.

    By common consent, puns are the lowest form of humor. We groan first, and then laugh. Puns are so easy to create—usually spontaneously—that they enter everyday conversation as interruptive non sequiturs. We are subject to the good ...