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Daniel Borzutzky in conversation with Ricardo Alberto Maldonado

July 31 @ 6:00 pm

City Lights and Coffee House Press celebrate the publication of

The Murmuring Grief of the Americas

By Daniel Borzutzky

Published by Coffee House Press

In The Murmuring Grief of the Americas, 2016 National Book Award winner Daniel Borzutzky holds to account the private interests driving Western humanitarian decisions, laying bare the immense toll of exploitative labor practices and the self-serving nature of authoritative bodies. These powerful, musical poems explore our hemispheric grief under the yokes of labyrinthine immigration policies, militarized policing, and mass capitalism.

Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator. His 2016 collection, The Performance of Becoming Human, received the National Book Award. Lake Michigan (2018) was a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. His most recent translation is Paula Ilabaca Nuñez’s The Loose Pearl (2022), winner of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. He teaches English and Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ricardo Alberto Maldonado was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He is the co-editor of Puerto Rico en mi corazón and the recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, the New York Foundation for the Arts and Queer|Arts|Mentorship. He lives in New York, where he serves as managing director at 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center and is the executive director and president of the Academy of American Poets. He is the author of the collection The Life Assignment published by Four Way Books.

Praise for The Murmuring Grief of the Americas

Bookshop.org “100 Most Anticipated Books of 2024”

“Art is always consumed with distinctions between the interior and the exterior of the self. Daniel Borzutzky belongs to the lineage of poets who refuse this demarcation. His poetry of anti-capital humanism converses with Canetti’s Crowds and Power. In Borzutzky’s hands, the modern cult of the individual is exposed as agent and puppet of the collective capitalist domination. But The Murmuring Grief of the Americas is also an aesthetic elation that quotes itself because it echoes so many others. It mixes the waters of the reverent with the irreverent.” —Fady Joudah

“It is going to take a devastatingly long time for the world to fully reckon with the beats in the heavy drums that one hears when tuning in to the books of Daniel Borzutzky. It takes a caring, tender, loving–deeply loving–human to write a book this searing. We’re fools, we’re complicit, we suffer. Skin and bones ache while reading. The heart riles up.” —Sawako Nakayasu

“In The Murmuring Grief of the Americas, Daniel Borzutzky maps massacres and environmental disasters, recording corpses that accumulate like caches of personal data. We are nothing, he reminds us, to our nations, our corporations, and the earth that we desecrate. With wholly unmistakable precision and unrelenting vision, Borzutzky reveals the utter darkness of it all (nation, money, property) and our imperative to make something new from it.” —Susan Briante

Made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation