Rhoda Janzen
Poet and author


Rhoda Janzen is an American poet and author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2010). She has also written Babel’s Stair, a collection of poems.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir rising out of Janzen’s experience of returning to her Mennonite family’s home after a personal crisis. Injured in a car wreck and recently left by her husband of fifteen years for a man he met on Gay.com, Janzen returned to her roots in Fresno, California to heal and find faith, love, and family again.

Janzen received her B.A. from Fresno Pacific University, an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1994 and 1997 she was selected as the University of California Poet Laureate. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Southern Review.

Janzen is currently a professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where she teaches English and creative writing.

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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress
A Memoir of Going Home
St. Martin's Griffin

"It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Janzen's voice—singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest—slayed me." —Elizabeth Gilbert,...

Going Home:
Rhoda Janzen speaks about her personal journey triggered by a series of disastrous events that led her back to her quirky Mennonite childhood home, and the strength she found there

Praise for Mennonite in a Little Black Dress “This book is not just beautiful and intelligent, but also painfully -- even wincingly -- funny. It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Rhoda Janzen's voice --  singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest --  slayed me, with audible results. I have a list already of about fourteen friends who need to read this book. I will insist that they read it. Because simply put, this is the most delightful memoir I've read in ages.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“This is an intelligent, funny, wonderfully written memoir.  Janzen has a gift for following her elegant prose with the perfect snarky aside.  If it weren't for the weird Mennonite food, I would like very much to be her friend.”
—Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I'm Like This and Leave the Building Quickly