The Petals of a Kansas Sunflower: A Mennonite Diaspora

The Petals of a Kansas Sunflower: A Mennonite Diaspora

by Melvin D. Epp

Paperback

$52.33 $56.00 Save 7% Current price is $52.33, Original price is $56. You Save 7%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, October 23

Overview

Synopsis:
Rather than pledging allegiance to the military effort as dictated by Prussian law in 1867, many devout Anabaptists deemed it prudent to become pioneers in Kansas. The year was 1876 and odd numbered sections of railroad land were being marketed by the Santa Fe across Kansas. Towns developed around train depots; local shopping became available. Marie Harder Epp was born in America to these relocated Anabaptists. She was a Kansas Mennonite farmer and also the village poet. Her poems, written for oral delivery, tell the story of life in Holland and West Prussia following the Reformation, the relocation to Kansas, and the creation of a church community on the tall grass prairies. A church was organized to focus these hard-working Germans on divine realities as they buried their dead, married their young, and dealt with the harsh prairie winds. Marie's poems also describe the changeover from buggies to cars, from German to English, and from isolation to global outreach. With time, the Anabaptists learned through cultural adaptation that they could be both staunch Mennonites and also patriotic Americans.

Endorsements:
"Epp weaves a fascinating montage of stories, photos, and personal reminiscences that frame the collected poems of his mother, a remarkable and strong woman who, as a farm wife on the Kansas prairies, reared eight children and still found time to reflect on the rugged beauty and the people who surrounded her. Her poetry gives 'a face and a heart' to the times, the community, and the land both she and Melvin loved so evidently."
--John Yoder, Visiting Professor of Education and Leadership, Eastern Mennonite University

"Marie Harder Epp experienced almost all of the twentieth century from the same Kansas farmhouse where she was born. Her amazing bilingual poetry harnesses a strong, sturdy prairie voice that transports the reader into a female realm of family, farming, weddings, births, and funerals that marked the meaning of her days and of ours. Melvin Epp has translated and wrapped her poems in the context and relationships that illuminated her words and her rural world."
--Mark Jantzen, Professor of History, Bethel College


Author Biography:
Melvin D. Epp is a retired research scientist and has returned to his roots in Kansas. His is the author of the article "The Heritage of a Garden: Replicating a West Prussian Garden among the Tall Grasses of Kansas," which was published in Mennonite Life (2008).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620320648
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 12/18/2012
Pages: 475
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Melvin D. Epp is a retired research scientist and has returned to his roots in Kansas. His is the author of the article "The Heritage of a Garden: Replicating a West Prussian Garden among the Tall Grasses of Kansas," which was published in Mennonite Life (2008).

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Acknowledgments xi

Preface xiii

1 "Why Don't You Write Poetry?" 1

2 This is My Land 12

3 History as a Reference Point 20

4 The Sparrows in the Fields 75

5 But God! 81

6 In the Days before Hallmark Cards 91

7 For a Good Laugh 100

8 Request for Poems 106

9 Wedding Invitation 111

10 Polterabend 112

11 Celebration of Marriage 117

12 Celebration of Sustained Bonding 157

13 Celebration of the Golden Wedding Anniversary 209

14 Celebration of Birthdays 263

15 Remembering Special People on Their Birth Dates 291

16 Honoring the Patriarch 316

17 The Mission of Parochial Education 319

18 Encouraging Missionaries as They Say Goodbye 334

19 A Commercial Jingle, i.e., Song 339

20 The Celebration of Christmas 342

21 The Art of Saying Grace 353

22 Mother is Dying 357

Appendix 1 History of My Mennonite Family 377

Appendix 2 Passage to America 392

Appendix 3 Tornado of June 8, 1941 401

Appendix 4 Eye on the World 427

Chronological List of Marie's Poems 430

Bibliography 435

Subject/Name Index 449

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews