Borzutzky’s Data Bodies

by on Jan.11, 2014

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Daniel Borzutzky has a new chapbook called Data Bodies. Daniel is of the Montevidayoian stripe through and through: his work is visceral, theatrical, political without being self-righteousness, and often moves with a frantic energy. His last book, The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat Books), was a fascinating exploration of the political brutality that underlines so much neo-liberalism. Borzutzky is well-known for his translations of Raúl Zurita’s work, and Bodies seems to take into itself both the horrors of Pinochet’s Chile and the corporatism of modern-day America, though places and people go largely unnamed in the work. The new book is, as the title suggests, about data, information, surveillance, networks. It is also about bodies and shit and hair. As one of the opening lines says, “We harbor data and we harbor the carcasses and we try to keep the two sets of information separate.”

But Daniel’s chapbook is about merging the two, dramatically. There’s always a Foucault-ian element to Daniel’s work: for him, history is about how bodies are controlled and regulated and sometimes brutalized. As he writes in “Non-Essential Personnel,” “We sit in our cubicles and sanitize our hands.” This is a very lively chapbook, full of an anarchic, comic spirit that’s a good reminder political poetry doesn’t have to be leaden and humorless. The book is out from Holon, a sister publication to The Green Lantern.

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