Poetry by Daniel Borzutzky
March 3, 2021 • 6 x 9 • 120 pages • 978-1-56689-599-6
National Book Award winner Daniel Borzutzky pens an incandescent indictment of capitalism’s moral decay.
In Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018, Daniel Borzutzky rages against the military industrial complex that profits from violence, against the unjust policing of certain bodies, against xenophobia passing for immigration policy, against hate spreading like a virus. He grieves for children in cages and those slain in the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. But pulsing amid Borzutzky’s outrage over our era’s tragedies is a longing for something better: for generosity to triumph over stinginess and for peace to transform injustice. Borzutzky’s strident language juxtaposes the horror of consumer-culture violence with its absurdity, and he masterfully shifts between shock and heartbreak over the course of the collection. Bleak but not hopeless, Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018 is an unflinching poetic reckoning with the twenty-first century.
About the Author
Daniel Borzutzky is the author of several poetry collections, including The Book of Interfering Bodies; In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy; The Performance of Becoming Human, winner of the 2016 National Book Award; and Lake Michigan, a finalist for the 2019 Griffin International Poetry Prize. His translation of Galo Ghigliotto’s Valdivia received the National Translation Award. He has also translated books by Chilean poets Raúl Zurita and Jaime Luis Huenún. He teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Praise for Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018
“These poems apply a clarity of conscience and language to the surreal nightmare born of white supremacy and zero-sum-game capitalism. Borzutzky—like Reznikoff and Rukeyser, and Chilean poet Raúl Zurita, whom he has translated—reminds us that poetry is and has long been a tool of reckoning and refusal, a way of singing for what has been stolen, slaughtered, stifled. These are the songs we must learn to sing.” —Tracy K. Smith
“Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018 is a montage for the systemic torque of our bodies. With stunning alacrity, Daniel Borzutzky emboldens a list of images into reality, as a broken witness—phenomenology of the murmuring poet’s ‘guilt of this innocent lung.’ Given rage to clean away the moral fiber of a culture led astray, we venture into the understructure of massacre with a book as a torch, providing humanity its navigation. Among these pages, emotional and spiritual selves gather to find cadence in perspective. ‘We break we are broken we are,’ transformation meets self-creation, daring subject to engage and render. Fractures of society are given multiple angles, to form our own entry points—each perception its own formation of equanimity. Line by line, we repeat the prayers that might heal those we love, ourselves included. Borzutzky offers us a testament to the written breath—to hear poetry’s fault line, running through each of us.” —Edwin Torres, author of Xoeteox: the infinite word object
“I can't do anything but bow. This is lacerating work.” —Achy Obejas
Praise for Daniel Borzutzky
“Through repetition and obsessive accumulation, every phrase leaps off the page, begging to be spoken aloud, or shouted. The work is as personally conflicted as Berryman’s, as stealthy as Celan’s, and as openly political as Ginsberg’s.” —National Book Award citation
“This is one of contemporary poetry’s most cogent documents of humanity and suffering in the 21st century.” -Publishers Weekly
“Violent, perverse, tender.” —Eileen Myles, Poetry Foundation
“According to Borzutzky, we are all responsible for the current state of the union.” —Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR