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About the Author
"I am vehemently protective of my native city--its rollicking history and gritty glories are legion. But it is also sweltering, blade-edged and murderous, with brown people squarely in its gunsights. Borzutzky's surreal and terrifying lakeside dreamscape--sparked by the real-world specter of the city's infamous 'blacksite' interrogation warehouse--is deftly crafted and chilling in its proximity to the real."
"With indignation and discipline, Daniel Borzutzky gives voice to those actions and objects in the U.S. media landscape and to the barbarism enacted by our nation's security machine. In the process, he realigns poetic forces to the branching patterns of language, to the convulsions of ritual theater, and to the political life of dead bodies."
"Daniel Borzutzky follows up his 2016 National Book Award-winning debut with a deeply haunting extrapolation of current events, a vision of America in which 'They said I was an illegal immigrant who roamed the streets in a gang.' The 'I' could be anyone, the 'they' anyone else. This is our present nightmare cast as a rambling, sometimes droning dramatic monologue for countless voices that proclaim 'Investigator #41 ... / ... / ... asked me what I did on the internet' and admit, taking responsibility on everyone's behalf, "It's not enough to feel shame/ It's not enough to starve/ It's not enough to be dead when others are more dead." According to Borzutzky, we are all responsible for the current state of the union."
--NPR, Craig Morgan Teicher
"Borzutzky's streamlined and unequivocally defiant follow-up to 2016's National Book Award-winning The Performance of Becoming Human unfolds across the streets of Chicago and along the shores of Lake Michigan, where he situates a fictionalized version of the Chicago PD's once-secret interrogation sites. Composed in long, proselike lines, this work explicitly places itself in the tradition of protest poetry. Police brutality is a major theme, both as occasion for protest and enacted. . . . Authorities repeatedly attempt to normalize their brutality, claiming that this is "only war," that it is, "only the beginning of war." Borzutzky engages with a history specific to Chicago, but the beach becomes a symbolic border zone where people suffer at the hands of capitalist power and, crucially, search for the means to fight back."
A searing indictment and an immediate, dangerous, and urgent work.
"If you've not yet read his poetry, you should begin now, with Lake Michigan."
"Daniel Borzutzky's stark poetic depiction of a world in the grips of an Orwellian police state, no less surreal than William Burroughs, no less byzantine and corrupt than Franz Kafka. . . . is a necessary book."
--Into the Void Magazine