I recently read Charles Borkhuis’ After Image (Chax Press, 2006), an extremely entertaining detective narrative in verse filled with deliciously uncanny moments such as these:
looking at my reflection
in the toy store window
my hung over
my rubbery red lips
an elderly salesclerk motions
through the glass
once inside I’m handed
a furry dog mask
I squint through tiny eyeholes
at the mirror
“my god” the clerk says
Rodrigo Toscano’s back cover blurb is spot-on:
Charles Borkhuis is one of our most merciless vivisectors of the logics of bodypower exchange. We’re talking forensics here, not schematology. Like Hieronymous Bosch and William Burroughs before him, his art collapses cosmos onto mundus causing “reality” beneath our feet to crack open. Demons and angels (supersolid forms of evanescent knowledge) begin a wild romp in the a f t e r i m a g e of that collapse. The dystopic postmodern city becomes at once funnier & more frightening. The Social Psychology Research wing of Borkhuis Poeticworks has been especially created to debrief each of us on our status as triple agents of late capitalism. You have special clearance. But so does everybody else. What the. Exactly. Add this book to your spy kit.
If David Lynch had an impeccable sense of poetic timing and was trapped in the Black Lodge with a thousand Interzone typewriters, it might just be theoretically possible for him to produce a work such as After Image.
Check out Borkhuis read with Paula Cisewski next Wednesday…details below.
and PAULA CISEWSKI
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 @ 8pm
The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church
131 E. 10 St. / Second Avenue
212 674-0910 Info@poetryproject.org
Charles Borkhuis is a poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter. His books of poems include: Afterimage, Savoir-fear, Alpha Ruins, and Proximity (Stolen Arrows). He was a finalist in the W.C. Williams Poetry Award and is a recipient of a Drama-Logue Award. He curated poetry readings in the Segue series in NYC for 15 years. His radio plays for NPR, poetry readings, and interviews are on www.pennsound. His translation from the French of Franck Andre Jamme’s New Exercises was published by Wave Books (2008). His latest book of poems is Disappearing Acts forthcoming from Chax Press.
Paula Cisewski’s second collection, Ghost Fargo, was selected by Franz Wright for the Nightboat Poetry Prize and published in 2010. She is also the author of Upon Arrival (Black Ocean, 2006) and of three chapbooks: How Birds Work (Fuori Editions, 2002), Or Else What Asked the Flame (w/Mathias Svalina, Scantily Clad e-chap, 2008), and Two Museums (MaCaHu Press 2009). She lives in Minneapolis.
Michael Leong is the author of the poetry books e.s.p., Cutting Time with a Knife, Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, and Words on Edge. His creative work has been anthologized in THE &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing, Best American Experimental Writing 2018, and Bettering American Poetry, Volume 3. His co-translation, with Ignacio Infante, of Vicente Huidobro’s long poem Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven is forthcoming from co•im•press in late 2019. His critical monograph Contested Records: The Turn to Documents in Contemporary North American Poetry is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press in May 2020. He has received grants from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts.