“Being Language” BathHouse Review – Daniel Borzutzky and Amy Sara Carroll

Author: Krysta Blankenship

Daniel Borzutzky and Amy Sara Carroll’s works intertwine in a way that allows them to support each other, and this was especially apparent in the BathHouse Readings on September 27th and 28th in the Student Center Auditorium. On the first day, Borzutzky read a few pieces from his work, The Performance of Becoming Human. When he read, “Lake Michigan Merges into the Bay of Valparaiso, Chile, ” my perception of the work shifted. Actually hearing him say the words the way they were intended to be said allowed the musicality to flow through the piece. It was clear each word was specifically chosen to work apart of something larger than itself. His words haunted the listener and lingered in the air.

These ideas mixed with Amy Sara Carroll’s visuals allowed for reflection. Her linoleum block printing pieces invoked a visual response from viewers. She also read from her work, Fannie and Freddie. This work forces the reader to question its motives and reflect upon its meaning. Carroll states how it, “actively resists being read.” Finally, she showed an app created called Codeswitch: The Transborder Immigration Tool. This app uses poetry to not only aid the soul but the body as well. It can be downloaded to any phone, and it helps a person navigating across the U.S. Mexican boarder find water. The work features many poems that give tips for survival. This aid not only helps the physical being, but the mental as well. The prose allows for an escape from reality.

On the second day, Borzutsky and Carroll gave a talk titled BOR/DER/I/ZA/TION. Both authors used their work to show what borderization means to them. One captivating piece shared featured Borzutsky reading his work over an episode of Speedy Gonzales. The way he paired the words with the visual allowed the listener to personally connect in a way that would not have been possible without the visual. He also used many modern movies to aid his lecture. This shifted my perspective of how borderization works in modern day life.

The BathHouse allowed me to gain a new perspective within my own writing. I see how sounds of specific words can work to create a new meaning. It seems as if these two authors came together to create new ideas within the idea of hybridity. Though their works do differ, they work well together.

Overall, the creative writing program at Eastern has given me a safe place to nourish and stimulate my writing. It has shown concepts that have pushed me to discover more about myself as a writer. It especially allows language to lead. We are not creating language, but rather language is working through us to create something new.