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The Mennonite Poetry Website *

Mennonites are a distinctive minority in every country where they reside, often differentiating themselves by their way of life, language, and theology.

Their apparently idiosyncratic characteristics are sometimes accentuated in the description of Mennonite characters in literature. For example, Günter Grass in his novel situated on the Vistula River Delta, Dog Years (Hundejahre), describes the fisherman Simon Beister as a "genuine hook-and-eye Mennonite, rough and pocketless; over his boatshed hung a painted wooden sign with the ornate description:

Mit Haken un Ösen;
Dem ward lieb Gottke erlösen.
Mit Knöpp un Taschen:
Dem ward der Düwel erhaschen.

Wear hooks and eyes,
Dear Jesus will save you.
Wear buttons and pockets,
The Devil will have you."

Mennonite poets simultaneously resist such stereotyping while accepting their unique history, and negotiate their assimilation into secular society while preserving spiritual values they consider relevant for the twenty-first century.

The poems provided by authors on this website are meant for the enjoyment of friends and colleagues who want to read, and perhaps comment on their poems (drafts or finished), or poems already published. We encourage participants to subsequently submit their work to a legitimate literary journal, print or online, if they desire. As such, this website is not meant to be a literary publication, but a vehicle for sharing among writers and readers of poetry with a Mennonite background.

We also encourage authors to post via email attachments descriptions of book-length works in progress, or bibliographic notes of book-length collections recently published.


Contact Editors:   Robert Martens   |   Larry Nightingale   |   Elmer Wiens

Mennonite Poetry email:


Tiessen, Hildi Froese. "Poetry." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1990. Web. 30 July 2011.




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