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A bibliography and subject index of published work from the Mennonite/s writing conferences.

The field of Mennonite literary criticism (1) has been an area of prolific growth within Mennonite studies over the past quarter century. The boom in North American Mennonite creative writing during the 1980s, (2) with the publication of books by writers such as Di Brandt, Patrick Friesen, Janet Kauffman, and Armin Wiebe (3) led to a corresponding boom in criticism about Mennonite literature in the 1990s that has continued unabated to today. The seven Mennonite/s Writing conferences (4) held between 1990 and 2015 (5) played an essential role in support of this critical endeavor. The conferences helped to make the field of Mennonite literature visible to scholars, creative writers, and lay readers, and helped create a community interested in perpetuating the field. These achievements were made possible in part by the publication of versions of many of the conference presentations in books and periodicals because ideas from the conferences were able to reach a broader audience in their printed form. Nearly 150 of the presentations have been published between 1992 and 2016, and they continue to be cited in Mennonite literary scholarship. (6) What follows is a bibliography and subject index of these published presentations, prefaced by some commentary on what the content of the bibliography and index signify. (7) This commentary is intended to spark further conversation about the conferences' significance rather than being definitive. While the complete history of the Mennonite/s Writing conferences has yet to be written, (8) this project attempts to fill part of that lacuna by examining how the scholarship from the conferences has manifested itself in print.


The bibliography and index offer food for thought on several issues within Mennonite literature. The first of these is the field's recent trend of examining itself (what Robert Zacharias calls "metacritical reflection" by critics working in the field about the field), (9) asking questions such as what has it achieved critically? does it have more to achieve? (10) and, if so, what directions should it take in the future? The bibliography and index are intended as another entry within this trend. (11) The field is sufficiently established to be eligible for interrogation and interpretation; the bibliography and index offer scholars data to use for this interpretive task. If, as Zacharias asserts, "the very foundations of the Mennonite/s Writing project are swaying" currently, (12) then the bibliography and index provide a glimpse of just what those foundations have been while also illustrating some possibilities for where the "project" might be heading.

Second, the bibliography and index offer a history of the content of the conferences and thus a significant segment of the larger field's history as well. Reading through the bibliography shows which critics have been the most influential, and the index shows which authors and which themes have been important (see the analysis of these issues below). The field's history is closely related to the development of the Mennonite literature canon, and the conferences have been essential to the creation of this canon. (13) There are fewer courses offered in Mennonite literature than in other fields of literary studies, (14) thus other kinds of canon-defining activities such as the conferences and the publications resulting from them have had more weight. While it is clear from the bibliography that certain authors (e.g., Rudy Wiebe, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, and Miriam Toews) are at the center of the canon, the sizeable number of creative writers--nearly forty--that have had work from the conferences published about them shows that the Mennonite literary canon is more fluid and its boundaries are less rigid than many other canons within literary studies. The index shows how quickly authors enter and sometimes leave the canon, and also shows that some themes have become canonical as well.

Third, as a part of documenting the history of the conferences, the bibliography and index offer a portrait of how the conferences have evolved, and this portrait raises further metacritical questions about the structure of the field as a whole. For instance, whereas much of the published work from the 1990 and 1997 conferences was literary criticism (11 of 13 pieces from 1990 and 17 of 25 pieces from 1997), only five of the fifteen pieces published from the 2015 conference were, with the others being personal essays. One could read this change as a positive one--the pieces currently being published are more accessible to non-scholars--or a negative one: does the turn away from literary criticism signify the beginning of the field's demise? Similarly, the bibliography includes work by over 75 scholars, which would indicate that the field is thriving. However, Lotka's law of publishing (i.e., that a few writers contribute a large number of texts in a field, some writers contribute a few texts, and most writers only contribute one or two texts) generally holds true. (15) Five critics (Ann Hostetler, Jeff Gundy, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Hildi Froese Tiessen, and Paul Tiessen) have produced nearly a quarter of the published pieces. There are 54 writers who have published only one piece. That many conference participants have had work published only from one or two of the conferences raises the question of where have all these scholars gone? What does the seeming transiency of those who have written about the field mean for its future? From one view this trend might simply indicate that it is difficult to find academic positions outside of Mennonite colleges that are supportive of research on Mennonite literature, and thus many of those who have presented only once have moved on to other literary subjects. (16) Or, more pessimistically, it might mean that the field is ultimately unsustainable as a critical endeavor. There is obviously a broad range of possibilities between those two answers. With a few notable exceptions, (17) the conference presenters have been Mennonites (broadly defined) talking with other Mennonites; thus, part of the bibliography's metacritical function is to show what the discourse about the field has been within the Mennonite community, and to implicitly raise the question of whether the field should do more to engage non-Mennonites. (18) Rather than attempting to be definitive on such subjects, one goal of the bibliography is to instigate further examination of these kinds of questions by others.

Therefore, fourth, the bibliography and index are meant to be helpful reference tools because work from the conferences keeps getting published more diffusely. For example, while the published pieces from the 1990 conference are contained in one volume, the pieces from 2012 are spread over seven different publications, and the pieces from 2015 are spread over five. Much of the work that has been published from the conferences remains relevant to the field and is still of potential use to both literary critics and scholars in the broader field of Mennonite studies. Thus it is hoped that having a list of these publications all in one place will make further research in the field easier, and that seeing a list of themes covered in the conferences may spur work in those areas while also suggesting the need for work in others. The field of Mennonite literature is a relative newcomer within Mennonite studies, and the bibliography and index help to make its rich history of scholarship visible. (19) What follows below is a discussion of several thematic trends and striking omissions from the conference. Readers may find that the bibliography and index raise other avenues of inquiry as well.


While it was appropriate for John D. Roth and Ervin Beck to assert in their 2003 introduction of papers from the 2002 conference that "it may be premature to discern trends in a field still emerging out of its infancy," (20) as the bibliography and index reveal, in 2017 the field is in full flower, with more Mennonite creative writers active than ever before. The generation that began publishing in the 1980s and 1990s is still writing and a new generation that was raised on the work of the first generation has begun publishing as well. (21) This proliferation of texts has given literary critics plenty to consider writing about. The bibliography and index show that conference presenters have made some fascinating decisions in choosing which texts to cover in their scholarship. Their choices have led to some visible--and sometimes surprising--trends.

There are, for example, two articles from the 1990 conference about literature that is not in English, which equals the number of articles about this literature from all of the rest of the conferences combined (an article by Lauren Friesen published in 2003 and an article by Magdalene Redekop published in 2009; see the bibliography for these citations). The field now implicitly defines the term "Mennonite literature" as "Mennonite literature in English." The attention paid to non-English literature in 1990 indicates how relatively small the group of texts in English that were available to write about was in comparison to today. It is also fair to assume that fewer Mennonite literary critics now can read German and Low German, and thus are unable to engage with the texts of writers such as Arnold Dyck and Gerhard Loewen.

Rudy Wiebe's work remains a compelling subject for literary critics, with 17 entries in the index, by far the most for a single author. However, this scholarship deals almost exclusively with Wiebe's explicitly Mennonite novels, ignoring the majority of his oeuvre. These novels include a major theme running throughout much of Mennonite literature: how do Mennonites encounter and interact with the world? Miriam Toews's fiction engages this theme, too; thus, it may be no surprise that her work is also popular among conference presenters, with seven entries in the index. Likewise, some of Julia Spicher Kasdorf's poetry is also about the Mennonite/world encounter, and she has the second-most entries of a creative writer in the index with eight.

Most of the subject headings with more than one entry include both older critical work and newer work. In other words, the themes that the field would investigate at the conferences were mainly set early and have continued to be investigated. This is generally not the case with older authors, however. With the exception of the ever-present fascination with Rudy Wiebe's work, there is a clear tendency to focus on recently-published literature. Authors such as Janet Kauffman who received attention at earlier conferences but have been less active of late have fallen out of view. While it is exciting that so much good new creative writing is being published and studied, it would also be a mistake for the field to continue to ignore some of its early figures. Scholarship on the relationships between older and newer texts is necessary.

The "Gender and Sexuality" heading contains 23 entries, the second most of any heading (after "Mennonite Literature"). The role that gender plays in the work of well-known writers such as Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Miriam Toews, and Katie Funk Wiebe as well as other lesser-known authors such as Anna Ruth Ediger Baehr and Anne Konrad has fascinated critics throughout the conferences' history. The inclusion of a panel on queer Mennonite fiction at the 2015 conference and the subsequent publication of its papers in 2016 signifies new directions for the field to explore.

Although the field considers Mennonite literature to be an ethnic literature, (22) Mennonitism's broader theological aspects and their manifestation in Mennonite literature have been a popular theme in conference work, with the "Theology" heading in the index containing 17 entries. For creative writers such as Jeff Gundy, Jean Janzen, and Rudy Wiebe, writing is a significant part of their spiritual practice, and this fact is evident both in their work from the conferences and in critics' investigations of their work.

There are ten entries under the "Literary History" heading, which should not be surprising since creating a narrative of the tradition is essential for the establishment of any field. This project itself is intended as a piece of literary history. One way it acts in this capacity is by revealing how some critics investigate certain themes over several conferences. Examples include Wilbur Birky's work on Yorifumi Yaguchi and Edna Froese's work on the issue of community. One can see that the current metacritical trend in Mennonite literary criticism has its roots in Hildi Froese Tiessen's sustained questioning through the years of just what the term "Mennonite literature" signifies.

There are relatively few entries under the index's "Peace" and "Violence" headings. This may be surprising considering the traditional importance of nonviolence in Mennonite thought. There are also some striking gaps about important writers in the field. Nothing has been published about Patrick Friesen, and very little has been published about David Bergen, Di Brandt, and David Waltner-Toews, all four of whom are considered canonical Mennonite writers. While these writers' work has received attention in other venues, it is striking that it has often been ignored in conference presentations.


While most of the entries in the bibliography and index are straightforward, some have explanatory footnotes when necessary. Two kinds of abbreviations follow each entry. The first abbreviation is the publication where the piece appeared. The second abbreviation is the entry's genre of writing. Some pieces fit into more than one genre and thus have more than one of these abbreviations. The bibliography includes the following genres:

CI--Collection Introduction. While these introductions were obviously not presented at the conferences, they are important as metacritical commentaries on the state of the field when each issue was published, and thus are included. They are separate from the "Metacriticism" genre to make it clear that they were not presented at the conferences themselves, though many of them are also classified as Metacriticism.

LC--Literary Criticism. This genre is by far the most common among the published pieces, though it has become rarer over the past two conferences.

MC--Metacriticism. This genre, which consists primarily of the traditional "State of the Art" addresses from the conferences and some of the collection introductions, is differentiated from "Literary Criticism" because it is writing about the field itself rather than writing about texts in the field.

PD--Panel Discussion. Some of the conferences included plenary panel discussions that have been transcribed and published.

PE--Personal Essay. This genre appears primarily in pieces from the 2009, 2012, and 2015 conferences, (23) which is indicative of the recent rise of life writing as a significant genre in North American literature as a whole as well as in Mennonite literature specifically, with the publication of memoirs or autobiographies by writers such as Wes Funk, Rhoda Janzen, Shirley Hershey Showalter, and Yorifumi Yaguchi. (24) That this is only a partial list illustrates the genre's ascendancy.

S--Sermon. Some of the sermons from the Sunday morning services held at the end of the conferences in the U.S. have been published.

T--Tribute. It is customary at the dinner banquet for each conference to offer speeches of tribute to writers, critics, and teachers of Mennonite literature whose foundational work has shaped the field. Many of these tributes have been published.

The bibliography does not include poems, fiction, or drama from the various collections because, aside from the practicality of being unable to discern which published creative pieces were actually read at the conferences as opposed to which pieces are by writers who happened to read work at the conferences, the bibliography's goal is to present the conferences' critical history rather than their creative history. (25) However, collections that include these genres are marked as such in the list of publications below. Similarly, some of the collections (most notably the issues of The Mennonite Quarterly Review) contain Mennonite literature-related book reviews, but these reviews are not included in the bibliography because they were not written for the conferences themselves. Likewise, some of the issues are only partially dedicated to conference pieces or include pieces on Mennonite literature that were not from the conferences. In these instances only the pieces from the conferences themselves are included in the bibliography. The bibliography also does not include media coverage about the conferences.

Four journals have been the primary repositories of work from the conferences: Conrad Grebel Review, the Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing, (26) the Journal of Mennonite Studies, and The Mennonite Quarterly Review. There have also been three books devoted to the conferences, one from 1990 and two from 1997. The practice since the 2002 conference has been to publish conference collections only as special issues of journals. Much, but not all, of the critical work from the conferences has been published. Part of what has made it into print has simply depended on which presenters from the conferences have submitted their work for consideration. While editors of the various publications examined here have played a major role in deciding what has been published, they could sift through only the pieces that were made available to them. (27)

The books and periodical issues that include multiple pieces from a conference are listed below with their abbreviations as used in the bibliography. A number of essays from the conferences were published by themselves, and these pieces are given full citations in their entries along with the year of the conference at which they were presented. With the exception of the October 1998 issue of The Mennonite Quarterly Review and Migrant Muses, if an essay has been reprinted, only its first publication is included here.

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, 1990 (28)

Tiessen, Hildi Froese, and Peter Hinchcliffe, eds. Acts of Concealment: Mennonite/s Writing in Canada. Waterloo, ON: University of Waterloo Press, 1992. AC 1992.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes poems by four authors and two short stories.

Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana, 1997

Mennonite Quarterly Review 72.4 (1998). MQR 1998.

This issue was reprinted as: Roth, John D., and Ervin Beck, eds. Migrant Muses: Mennonitels Writing in the U.S. Goshen, Ind.: Mennonite Historical Society, 1998. MM 1998.

Essays from these collections include both the Mennonite Quarterly Review and the Migrant Muses bibliographic information because the two volumes are paginated differently. Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes seven book reviews of pieces of Mennonite literature.

Yutzy, Steven, ed. Greeting the Dawn: An Anthology of New Mennonite Writing. Goshen, Ind.: Pinchpenny Press, 1998. GD 1998.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes poems by twenty authors, two short stories, and a scene from a play.

Aside from these collections, one further essay from this conference was published.

Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana, 2002 (29)

Conrad Grebel Review 22.2 (2004). CGR 2004.

The cover gives the title of this issue as "Rudy Wiebe and the Mennonites: Forty Years On." At the end of the pieces from the conference there are eleven photographs from the conference, and these pieces are preceded by a photograph of Wiebe. Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes an interview with Wiebe and a review of Wiebe's and Geoffrey James's Place: Lethbridge: A City on the Prairie.

Mennonite Life 57.4 (2002). ML 2002.

This issue primarily consists of creative work from the conference that is not included here (poems by three authors, two short stories, and an interview with Ann Hostetler), but the helpful collection introduction and one critical essay are included.

Mennonite Quarterly Review 77.4 (2003). MQR 2003.

A statement on the cover of this issue notes that it is dedicated to Ervin Beck. Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes twelve book reviews of Mennonite literature-related books and a poem by Todd Davis that commemorates Beck's retirement. The section of tributes toward the end of the issue also includes six photographs from the conference.

Aside from these collections, a further two essays from this conference were published.

Bluffton University, Bluffton, Ohio, 2006

Conrad Grebel Review 26.1 (2008). CGR 2008.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes a transcript of the 2007 Bechtel Lectures by Sandra Birdsell and an interview with Miriam Toews.

Mennonite Quarterly Review 82.1 (2008). MQR 2008.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes five book reviews of Mennonite literature-related books.

Aside from these collections, four further essays from this conference were published.

University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2009

Journal of Mennonite Studies 28 (2010). JMS 2010.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes eleven book reviews of Mennonite literature-related books.

Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 2012

Conrad Grebel Review 31.2 (2013). CGR 2013.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes three lectures by Mennonite writers from a lecture series held at Conrad Grebel University College in 2012.

Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 4.4 (2012). JCMW 2012.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes poems by four authors and one short story.

Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 5.1 (2013). JCMW 2013.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes an essay about Carlos Reygadas's film Silent Light, which stars Mennonite writer Miriam Toews.

Mennonite Quarterly Review 87.1 (2013). MQR 2013.

Rhubarb, Summer 2012. R 2012.

All of this issue is Mennonite literature-related, though only two pieces are from the conference.

Aside from these collections, a further two essays from this conference were published.

Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, California, 2015

Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 7.3 (2015). JCMW 2015.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes poems by two authors, a novel excerpt, a reflection on the conference, and an interview with Mennonite writer Greg Bechtel.

Journal of Mennonite Studies 34 (2016). JMS 2016.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes twelve book reviews of Mennonite literature-related books and a novel excerpt.

Mennonite Quarterly Review 90.1 (2016). MQR 2016.

Aside from the conference pieces included in the bibliography, this collection also includes nine book reviews of Mennonite literature-related books.

Aside from these collections, a further two essays from this conference were published.

The subject index follows the bibliography. Entries in the index contain the last names and first initials of authors and the titles of their pieces, but do not include full citations for each piece because that information can be found in the bibliography. Many pieces from the bibliography fit several of the index's subject headings and are thus included more than once. While most of the subject headings are self-explanatory, a few that might seem ambiguous have footnotes.


Arnason, David. "A History of Turnstone Press." AC 1992: 212-22. PE.

Beck, Ervin. "Resolving Dualisms in David Bergen's Sitting Opposite My Brother." MQR 2003: 637-645. LC.

--. "Searching for Intruders Revisited." MQR 2013: 41-48. LC.

--. "The Signifying Menno: Archetypes for Authors and Critics." MQR 1998: 529-47/MM 1998: 49-67. LC, MC. Birky, Beth Martin. "Preface." GD 1998: 7-8. CI.

--. "'Sloughing Off Ribs': Revealing The Second Sex in Julia Kasdorf's Poetry." MQR 2003: 589-611. LC.

--. "When Flesh Becomes Word: Creating Space for the Female Body in Mennonite Women's Poetry." MQR 1998: 677-88/MM 1998: 197-208. LC.

Birky, Wilbur. "Staring Down the Muzzle from Yamoto to Baghdad." Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 1.2 (2009). 2006. LC.

--. "Yorifumi Yaguchi: A Tribute." MQR 2003: 686-688. T.

--. "Yorifumi Yaguchi: International Mennonite Poet and Prophet of Peace." MQR 2003: 559-577. LC.

Born, Brad S. "Writing Out from the Mennonite Family Farm: Gordon Friesen's Homegrown Grapes of Wrath." MQR 2008:108-126. LC.

Braun, Jan Guenther. "A Complicated Becoming." JMS 2016: 291-297. LC, PE.

Cruz, Daniel Shank. "Narrative Ethics in Miriam Toews's Summer of My Amazing Luck." /CMW 2013. LC.

--. "Reading My Life in the Text: Adventures of a Queer Mennonite Critic." JMS 2016: 280-286. PE.

--. "Stephen Beachy's boneyard, the Martyrs Mirror, and Anabaptist Activism." Mennonite Life 70 (2016). 2015. LC. martyrs-mirror-and-an/.

Davis, Todd. "Ervin Beck: A Tribute." MQR 2013: 95-96. T.

--. "Laboring Through The Weather Book: The Value of Work in the Poetry of Janet Kauffman." MQR 1998: 639-48/MM 1998:159-168. LC.

--. "Postmodern Rhapsody: Faithful Negotiations in the Poetry of Jeff Gundy." MQR 2003: 507-520. LC.

--. "'This Reckless Journey': Immanence and Transcendence in the Poetry of Jean Janzen." MQR 2008:13-26. LC.

Doerksen, Victor G. '"Our Father, Which Art in Heaven...': Some Thoughts on the Father Image in Mennonite Poetry." AC 1992: 39-51. LC.

Dula, Peter. "Theology is a Kind of Reading." CGR 2013:113-120. LC.

Dutcher, Vi. "'Hurry Back!': The Circle Letter as Communal Liaison in Women's Literary Practice." Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 1.4 (2009). 2006. LC.

Eby, Omar. "Jesus: A Graven Image." GD 1998: 9-15. LC, S.

Elias, David. "If I Am a Mennonite Writer: One Anabaptist Author's Literary Neurosis." R 2012: 7-9. PE.

Fisher, John J. "Byzantium North: Some Contextual Notes for Rudy Wiebe's Collected Stories." MQR 2013: 89-94. LC.

--. "Eve's Striptease: What's in a Name?" MQR 2003: 579-588. LC.

--. "Making Something Happen: Toward Transformative Mennonite Peace Poetry." MQR 2008: 27-42. LC, MC.

--. "Speed the Plow: Julia Kasdorf's Sleeping Preacher." MQR 1998: 649-66/MM 1998:169-186. LC.

Friesen, Lauren. "Hermann Sudermann: Social Criticism and East Prussian Regionalism in German Drama." Journal of Mennonite Studies 21 (2003): 111-136. 2002. LC.

--. "Warren Kliewer." MQR 1998: 691-692/MM 1998: 211-212. T.

Froese, Edna. "'Adam, Who Are You?': The Genealogy of Rudy Wiebe's Mennonite Protagonists." CGR 2004:14-24. LC.

--. "Transgression Into Grace: David Elias's Sunday Afternoon." MQR 2008:147-159. LC.

--. "Voices of Faith in The Blue Mountains of China and A Community of Memory." MQR 1998: 607-614/MM 1998:127-134. LC.

Gaff, Clarissa. "Being Mennonite Comes Down to Whole Wheat Bread." The Mennonite, 17 February 1998:19-20.1997. PE.

Graybill, Beth. "Chasing the Bonnet: The Premise and Popularity of Writing Amish Women." Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 2.4 (2010). 2006. LC.

Gundy, Jeff. "Heresy and the Individual Talent." ML 2002. LC, MC.

--. "In Praise of the Lurkers (Who Come Out to Speak)." MQR 1998: 503-510/MM 1998: 23-30. LC.

--. "The Marriage of the Martyrs Mirror and the Open Road, or, Why I Love Poetry Despite the Suspicion That It Won't Save Anybody." CGR 2008: 59-71. LC.

--. "Notes in Lieu of a Manifesto on Anabaptist Theopoetics." CGR 2013: 130-142. LC.

--. "Tribute to Nicholas C. Lindsay, Sr." CGR 2008: 91-93. T.

Harnish, Andrew. "LGBT Mennonite Fiction: A Panel from Mennonite/s Writing VII: An Introductory Reflection." JMS 2016: 279-280. CI.

Hartman, Ben. "The Role of the Artist in the Mennonite Community." GD 1998: 64-77. LC, MC.

Heidebrecht, Doug. "Katie Funk Wiebe Tells Her Story: A Personal and Communal Narrative History." JMS 2010:117-127. LC.

Hinz-Penner, Raylene. "Al Reimer: A Tribute." MQR 2013: 98-100. T.

--. "Stretching Us: A Report from the 2002 Mennonite/s Writing Conference." ML 2002. CI.

Holland, Scott. "Theopoetics is the Rage." CGR 2013:121-129. LC.

Hostetler, Ann. "Elaine Sommers Rich: A Tribute." MQR 2013:101-103. T.

--. "In This Issue." JCMW 2012. CI. ting-VI/. (30)

--. "Introduction." JCMW 2015. CI.

--. "Playing the Sacred Harp: Mennonite Literature as Confession." CGR 2008: 50-58. MC.

--. "The Self in Mennonite Garb: Where Does the Writing Come From?" MQR 2013: 23-40. LC.

--. "Three Women Poets and the Beginnings of Mennonite Poetry in the U.S.: Anna Ruth Ediger Baehr, Jane Rohrer, Jean Janzen." MQR 2003: 521-545. LC.

--. "The Unofficial Voice: The Poetics of Cultural Identity and Contemporary U.S. Mennonite Poetry." MQR 1998: 511-528/MM 1998: 31-48. LC, MC.

--. "A Valediction Forbidding Excommunication: Ecopoetics and the Reparative Journey Home in Recent Work by Di Brandt." JMS 2010: 69-86. LC. (31)

Hostetler, Laura. "Monkey Business." JCMW 2015. PE. http://www.mennonitewriting.Org/journal/7/3/monkey-business /#all.

Jantzen, Maryann. "'Believing is Seeing': 'Re-Storying' the Self in Rudy Wiebe's Sweeter Than All the World." CGR 2004: 55-68. LC.

Janzen, Jean. "Katie Funk Wiebe: A Tribute." MQR 2013:104-106. T.

--. "Nine Streams Towards the River of Theopoetics: An Autobiographical Approach." CGR 2013:143-147. PE.

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher. "An Essential Stranger, Yes: Nick Lindsay at Goshen College, 1969-2000." MQR 2008: 85-107. LC.

--. "John Ruth." MQR 1998: 689-690/MM 1998: 209-210. T.

--. "Sunday Morning Confession." MQR 2013: 7-10. MC.

--. "Tribute to Jean Janzen." CGR 2008:100-102. T.

--. "Tribute to Jean Janzen and Rudy Wiebe." JCMW 2015. PE, T.

Kasdorf, Julia Spicher, Jean Janzen, John Ruth, and Rudy Wiebe. "Literature, Place, Language, and Faith: A Conversation Between Jean Janzen, John Ruth, and Rudy Wiebe." CGR 2008: 72-90. PD.

Kehler, Grace. "Heeding the Wounded Storyteller: Toews' A Complicated Kindness." JMS 2016: 39-61. LC.

Keith, W. J. "Where is the Voice Going To?: Rudy Wiebe and His Readers." AC 1992: 85-99. LC.

Kroetsch, Robert, Rudy Wiebe, Magdalene Redekop, Patrick Friesen, Hildi Froese Tiessen, Henry Wiebe, Di Brandt, Victor Enns, Wayne Tefs, David Arnason, Andrew Stubbs, Nick Lindsay, Armin Wiebe, Grant Loewen, and Kim Jernigan. "Closing Panel." AC 1992:223-242. MC, PD.

Kuester, Martin. "From Personal Anecdote to Scholarly Field of Research: A European's View of Canadian Mennonite Writing." JMS 2010:151-165. LC.

Kurtz, Kathleen Weaver. "Ada." ]CMW 2015. PE. http://www.mennonitewriting.Org/journal/7/3/ada/#all.

Lahman, Maria. "Mungo Ni Pendo: An Experiment in Research-Based Poetry with Footnotes." JCMW 2012. PE. http://www.mennonitewriting.Org/journal/4/4/munghi-ni-penda/.

Lapp, Jessica W. "Embodied Voices, Imprisoned Bodies: Women and Words in Janet Kauffman's Collaborators." MQR 1998: 615-624/MM 1998:135-144. LC.

Lehman, Daniel W. "The Construction of Mennonite/Amish Character in Novels by John Updike and Denis Johnson." MQR 2003: 671-683. LC.

--. "Graven Images and the (Re)Presentation of Amish Trauma." MQR 1998: 577-587/MM 1998: 97-107. LC.

Lehman, Pat. "Who Can Play the 'Other'?" JCMW 2013. PE.

Levertov, Denise. "The Migrant Muse: Roots and Airplants." MQR 1998: 481-489/MM 1998:1-9. LC.

Loewen, Harry. "The Beginning of Russian-Mennonite Literature in Canada, with a Focus on Gerhard Loewen (1863-1946), Poet and Teacher." AC 1992: 52-70. LC.

Loewen, Mary Ann. "My Mother's Story as a Narrative of Contradictions." JMS 2010:102-115. PE.

MacDonald, Tanis. "Hunger, History, and the 'Shape of Awkward Questions': Reading Sarah Klassen's Simone Weil as Mennonite Text." JMS 2010: 87-102. LC.

Mast, Gerald J. "Research Note: Epistolary Rhetoric and Marital Love in the Martyrs Mirror." MQR 2008:174-186. LC.

Meyer-Lee, Robert J. "A Defense of Ornament: The Supplement of Literary Language and Julia Spicher Kasdorf's 'Catholics' and 'Mennonites'." MQR 2008: 43-63. LC.

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(*) Daniel Shank Cruz is an assistant professor of English at Utica College, Utica, N.Y. The author wishes to thank Utica College for a Faculty Summer Fellowship that provided research funds for this project.

(1.) That is, literary criticism about Mennonite literature.

(2.) I use this standard term (along with "creative writers") to mean the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama in order to differentiate this work from literary criticism, though I do not mean to suggest that the writing of literary criticism does not involve creativity.

(3.) Di Brandt, questions i asked my mother (Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1987); Patrick Friesen, The Shunning (Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1980); Janet Kauffman, Collaborators (St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 1986); Armin Wiebe, The Salvation of Yasch Siemens (Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1984). Other texts included Rudy Wiebe's third explicitly Mennonite novel, My Lovely Enemy (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1983), and the mini anthology Three Mennonite Poets by Jean Janzen, Yorifumi Yaguchi, and David Waltner-Toews (Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books, 1986). There were also numerous others.

(4.) It is important to note that the Mennonite/s Writing conferences were not the first to deal with Mennonites and writing. There was a series of at least four "Mennonite Writers' Conferences" held between 1950 and 1961 at various Mennonite camps and colleges which deserve their own study (I am grateful to Joe Springer of the Mennonite Historical Library at Goshen College for bringing these conferences to my attention). These conferences offered how-to workshops in several genres for people interested in writing for denominational periodicals and publishers such as Herald Press. While these conferences' focus was much different than that of the Mennonite/s Writing conferences, one wonders what sort of subtle influence their legacy had in creating an environment where the study of Mennonite literature could begin to flourish as it has in the past three decades. It is striking that the last of the Mennonite Writers' conferences took place only a year before the foundational text of North American Mennonite literature, Rudy Wiebe's novel Peace Shall Destroy Many (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1962), was published. Wiebe began his literary career, of course, as the editor of a church magazine, Mennonite Brethren Herald, which offers an example of how the literary skills learned in official church environments have helped to provide the tools for Mennonite creative writers and literary critics to use as they (and the field of Mennonite literature in general) have moved in more worldly directions.

(5.) Conferences were held at: the University of Waterloo in 1990; at Goshen College in 1997 and 2002; at Bluffton University in 2006; at the University of Winnipeg in 2009; at Eastern Mennonite University in 2012; and at Fresno Pacific University in 2015. There are also plans to hold conferences at the University of Winnipeg in 2017 and at Goshen College in 2020.

(6.) For instance, in Robert Zacharias's edited essay collection After Identity: Mennonite Writing in North America (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), which is a landmark text in the field, seven of the thirteen essays explicitly mention the conferences, and ten of the thirteen essays cite published work from the conferences. These citations encompass all six conferences between 1990 and 2012 (the 2015 conference happened as the book was in press), showing that a sizeable amount of work from the conferences remains important and that the conferences have played a significant role in shaping the field as a whole.

(7.) Ervin Beck's "Mennonite Writing in the U.S." ( and Beck's and Hildi Froese Tiessen's "Mennonite Writing in Canada" (, which include both creative and critical work, are the standard Mennonite literature bibliographies, and both were helpful reference tools for this project. The present project is not meant to supersede these bibliographies, but instead focuses on providing a bibliographically-based history of the Mennonite/s Writing conferences. The above-mentioned bibliographies do not classify critical work by subjects other than authors, thus the subject index accompanying this bibliography offers an expanded picture of the subjects that have been important in the field of Mennonite literature over the past quarter century. This bibliography also includes some pieces that as of August, 2016, were omitted from the online bibliographies.

(8.) Bits and pieces of the conferences' history have appeared in several places. Aside from many of the collection introductions included in this bibliography that include summaries of important events at the conferences, see, for instance, the discussion of the 1990 conference in Hildi Froese Tiessen's "Thirty Years of Mennonite Literature: How a Modest Course Became Something Else," Journal of the Center of Mennonite Writing 8, no. 1 (2016); and the discussion of the 1997 and 2002 conferences in Ervin Beck's "Mennonite Literature at Goshen College," Journal of the Center of Mennonite Writing 8, no. 1 (2016)

(9.) Robert Zacharias, "'A Garden of Spears': Reconsidering the Mennonite/s Writing Project," MQR 90 (Ian. 2016), 30.

(10.) To be clear, I believe the answer is yes, but it is by no means a settled question. However one chooses to answer, it is important to acknowledge the history of the field, which is one goal of the bibliography and index.

(11.) Pieces in this trend include Zacharias's essay; the entirety of Zacharias's After Identity, which includes papers from a 2013 symposium on Mennonite literature at Perm State that, as Julia Spicher Kasdorf explained in her introductory comments to the lunch discussion about the collection at the 2015 Fresno conference, was conceived of and convened as a response to the lack of critical essays presented at the 2012 Harrisonburg conference; Hildi Froese Tiessen's "Beyond 'What We by Habit or Custom Already Know,' or What Do We Mean When We Talk About Mennonite Writing?," MQR 90 (Jan. 2016), 11-27; the essays from the journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 8, no. 1 (2016) on the theme of "Teaching Mennonite Literature," as Mennonite literature courses have played a significant role in shaping the Mennonite literary canon; and, from a creative writer's perspective, David Elias's "If I Am a Mennonite Writer: One Anabaptist Author's Literary Neurosis," Rhubarb, Summer 2012, 7-9. It is also worth noting Jeff Gundy's "Mennonite/s Writing: Explorations and Exposition," Mennonite Life 70 (2016), which, while not being explicitly metacritical in its focus, provides a thorough explanation of where the field of Mennonite literature is now, with a special emphasis on important recent creative texts.

(12.) Zacharias, "'A Garden of Spears'," 29.

(13.) Ervin Beck's "Mennonite Transgressive Literature" in Zacharias, After Identity, 52-69, is a recent discussion of Mennonite literature and canonicity. The "transgressive" texts Beck discusses are all central texts within the Mennonite literary canon as a whole.

(14.) See the essays in the Journal of the Center of Mennonite Writing 8, no. 1 (2016),, for a history of teaching Mennonite literature at both Mennonite and non-Mennonite institutions.

(15.) Richard E. Rubin, Foundations of Library and Information Science, 3rd ed. (New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2010), 290.

(16.) Also, not all of the scholars who have presented at the conferences have been literary critics, with James Urry being a prominent example.

(17.) For instance, Robert Kroetsch at the 1990 conference and Margaret Steffler at the 2015 conference.

(18.) Canadian Mennonite literature receives some attention from non-Mennonites in non-Mennonite literary journals. Of the most prominent Mennonite writers, Rudy Wiebe has produced work that has long been a favorite of scholars, and a search of the MLA international Bibliography, the standard research resource for literary critics, on September 25, 2016, revealed eleven pieces in non-Mennonite venues on Miriam Toews, five on Di Brandt, five on Patrick Friesen, and four on David Bergen. U.S. Mennonite literature receives less attention. The aforementioned search revealed six pieces on Janet Kauffman, two on Julia Spicher Kasdorf, none on Jeff Gundy, and none on Jean Janzen. Much of the discourse about Mennonite literature has taken place in Mennonite venues, and the Mennonite/s Writing conferences have been the driving force for this discourse. With the exception of the conference pieces on Wiebe and Kauffman, conference work on the other listed authors does not cite work by non-Mennonite critics. Projects such as Zacharias's After Identity attempt to address this disconnect.

(19.) One recent example of the field's lack of visibility within Mennonite studies as a whole is in David Weaver-Zercher's generally excellent "Martyrs Mirror": A Social History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), 383, fn. 32. Weaver-Zercher's paucity of citations documenting the Mennonite "literary renaissance" of the past three decades that he discusses may indicate that the numerous sources which he could have cited are not as well-known within Mennonite studies as they should be.

(20.) John D. Roth and Ervin Beck, "In This Issue," MQR 77 (Oct. 2003), 505.

(21.) Highlights of this new generation's work include Jan Guenther Braun, Somewhere Else (Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring, 2008); Jessica Penner, Shaken in the Water (Tipp City, Ohio: Foxhead Books, 2013); Casey Plert, A Safe Girl to Love (New York: Topside Press, 2014); and Andre Swartley, The Wretched Afterlife of Odetta Koop (Newton, Kan.: Workplay Publishing, 2015).

(22.) For a concise summary of how Mennonite literature has become defined as an ethnic literature and why the field has begun to question whether this definition is problematic see Robert Zacharias, "Introduction: Mennonite/s Writing in North America," in Zacharias, After Identity, 6-7.

(23.) David Arnason's essay from the 1990 conference, Clarissa Gaff's essay from the 1997 conference, and Rudy Wiebe's essay from the 2002 conference are the only pre-2009 examples of the genre.

(24.) Wes Funk, Wes Side Story: A Memoir (Regina, Sask.: Your Nickel's Worth Publishing, 2014); Rhoda Janzen, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home (New York: Henry Holt, 2009); Shirley Hershey Showalter, Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World (Harrisonburg, Va.: Herald Press, 2013); Yorifumi Yaguchi, The Wing-Beaten Air: My Life and My Writing (Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books, 2008).

(25.) A history of the creative work presented at the conferences would also be helpful, but that requires a project of its own.

(26.) There is some confusion about the proper title of this journal. Many cite it as the CMW journal (for instance, this usage is rife throughout Zacharias's After Identity collection) because on the journal's homepage the heading is "CMW Journal" ( However, this heading follows the format for all of the Center for Mennonite Writing website pages (e.g., the encyclopedia page is headed "CMW Encyclopedia" []) rather than stating the title of the journal. The actual title of the journal (and thus the one used here) is the journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing. The journal's two co-editors, Ervin Beck and Ann Hostetler, definitively show that this is the correct title in their biographical statements from Zacharias's After Identity, which both call the publication the "Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing" (227, 228).

(27.) For instance, I remember that there was a cardboard box on the registration table at the 2002 conference where presenters could leave copies of their presentations if they wanted them to be considered for publication, and after the 2012 conference one of the organizers, Kirsten Eve Beachy, sent out an email to presenters soliciting manuscripts for the issues of Conrad Grebel Review and Mennonite Quarterly Review devoted to the conference.

(28.) It is worth noting The New Quarterly 10, nos. 1-2 (1990), a special issue on "Mennonite/s Writing in Canada" edited by Hildi Froese Tiessen that was published to coincide with the 1990 conference, though it did not include work from the conference.

(29.) It is worth noting Rudy Wiebe: A Tribute (Waterloo, Ont.: Sand Hills Books/Goshen, Ind.: Pinchpenny Press, 2002), a facsimile of the collection of tributes (mostly in the form of letters and poems) to Rudy Wiebe edited by Hildi Froese Tiessen that was presented to Wiebe in manuscript at the conference.

(30.) This introduction includes links to other reports about the conference.

(31.) See also Hostetler's report on the conference, "Letters Home: An Informal Report on 'Mennonite/s Writing: Manitoba and Beyond'," Journal of the Center for Mennonite Writing 1, no. 6 (2009).--www. /6/letters-home-informal-report-mennonites-writing-ma/.

(32.) Mierau himself rejects his argument in this essay in "The Voice is Coming (Faintly) From the Grave, and It Says Mennonites Are Dead, and So is Mennonite Writing...," Rhubarb, (Summer 2012), 27-29, which might also be considered part of the recent metacritical trend in Mennonite literature noted above.

(33.) This essay includes a link to a recording of Redekop reading in Low German.

(34.) Reimer read a portion of this chapter at the 2002 conference because, as he explained in prefatory remarks to his presentation, he had sent in the abstract for the presentation to the conference organizers before he knew that it would be in print at the time of the conference. I was there, and remember the presentation vividly because Reimer read from a copy of Surplus at the Border itself rather than from a more user-friendly printout of the chapter, and it just felt awkward. As John D. Roth and Ervin Beck note, Reimer's book was released at the conference.--"In This Issue," Mennonite Quarterly Review 77, no. 4 (2003), 503.

(35.) This essay is an earlier version of Tiessen's 2013 Mennonite Quarterly Review essay "Homelands, Identity Politics, and the Trace: What Remains for the Mennonite Reader?," which is also included in the bibliography.

(36.) For the story of the writing of this essay, see Paul Tiessen, "Rudy Wiebe and the 1960s Mennonite Brethren: An Archival Study," Mennonite Historian, June 2016, 8-9.
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Date:Jan 1, 2017
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