Daniel Borzutzky Recommends...

“For Kristen Dykstra and Marcelo Morales Cintero.
‘There are blows in life so powerful,’ writes César Vallejo, ‘I just don’t know.’ I think about these words all the time. And I think about James Baldwin’s Another Country, a book that crushed me first when I was twenty-two and then when I was forty-two. People don't have any mercy,’ writes Baldwin. ‘They tear you limb from limb, in the name of love. Then, when you're dead, when they've killed you by what they made you go through, they say you didn't have any character. They weep big, bitter tears—not for you. For themselves, because they've lost their toy.’ And I think about Marguerite Duras and I think about Arizona and Ayotzinapa and Chicago and Auschwitz and Juarez and Santiago and Syria and continuums of state and economic violence. And I think about people who die trying to cross borders and I think about how people love each other amid the worst types of pain and violence. And I think about language and love as means of survival. And I think about Chicago and police murder and the economic abandonment of so much of my city and I try to write, always, about the things people do to survive.”
—Daniel Borzutzky, author of The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016)