BathHouse Review – Daniel Borzutzky and Amy Sara Carroll

Author: Alex Johnston

Daniel Borzutzky dove head first into his readings on Tuesday September 28th at Eastern Michigan University, leading with a powerful piece full of nauseating imagery. “They beat us, they loved us, they paid us”. You could feel the confusion of the imprisoned not only through the content but through Daniel’s voice and inflection. The repetition was more powerful in the auditorium as opposed to reading it off the page, each line beginning with “at times” forcing you to hear the sheer mass of atrocities the prisoners faced. When he began to read this piece I immediately thought that this was a piece made to be performed, specifically for Daniel Borzutzky to perform.

When he moved on to “The Country of Planks” David’s ability to make you imagine was again evident. Lines like “…Lied one to the other like sawed up mountains” being both unique in itself and relatable to landscape of Chile. He again used repetition in his poetry and mixed that in with long winded drawn out lines that I remembered from my own reading as long run on sentences. “The Private world” was his next piece, and it pulls you in right from the start with “ The police shoved a gassed up rag into his mouth and set it on fire”. Each story was able to pull you in from the beginning, and this one was no different.

Amy Sarah Carrol came on next and the juxtaposition in tone between the two was immediately evident. This was going to be a lighter, yet not necessarily less powerful reading. Her ability to introduce humor into her poetry was never more evident than when she introduced her piece entitled “Fuck Up” in her series of art. Many of her work seemed to be less structured and more experimental compared to Daniel Borzutzky, yet none less impressive.

Amy’s work was also often more powerful in the auditorium, such as her piece “S sounding words” where there is somewhat soothing almost hypnotic effect as she seems to jam as many “S words” as she can into one piece. Conversely much of her work was better to be viewed, such as her series of “Block’s” pieces. These pieces were very “Visual, material, and conceptual” as she put it, and were much better suited to be viewed.

Both readings were very impressive and I am thankful for David and Amy for making the trip to Eastern Michigan University to read their work for us. Both of these writers/artists are very talented and I will continue to look into their work.