Daniel Borzutzky

In 1974 Daniel Borzutzky was born in­­ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Chilean parents. He received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000.

Borzutzky is the author of The Murmuring Grief of the Americas (Coffee House Press, 2024); Written after a Massacre in the Year 2018 (Coffee House Press, 2021); Lake Michigan (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), a finalist for the 2019 Griffin International Poetry Prize; The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016), which won the 2016 National Book Award in poetry; In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (Nightboat, 2015); Memories of my Overdevelopment (Kenning Editions, 2015); The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat, 2011); and The Ecstasy of Capitulation (BlazeVOX Books, 2006).

Borzutzky is also known for his work as a translator, and he received the 2017 ALTA National Translation Award for his translation of Galo Ghigliotto’s Valdivia (Co-im-press, 2016) and a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of The Country of Planks (Action Books, 2015) by the Chilean poet Raúl Zurita. He is also the author of a collection of short stories, Arbitrary Tales (Ravenna Press, 2007).

Borzutzky’s work is known for its portrayal of various kinds of political violence. The poet Carmen Giménez Smith has said,

Daniel Borzutzky has been the fabulist we most need because he’s unafraid to detail the truth of our oligarchy, without pedantry. In his figurative world our bodies are forced through privatized meat grinders, but funnily in the way that all dark horror stories trigger our gallows humor.

In an interview with Stephen de Jesús Frías, Borzutzky says, “I write about economic violence, police violence and torture, violence towards immigrants, corporate barbarism, racism, the destruction of unions and the neglect of the poor, among other things.”

Borzutzky has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in the English and Latin American and Latino Studies Departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago.