Poetry. "DISAPPEARING ACTS breaks new ground in Charles Borkhuis' ongoing examination of how language constitutes and is constituted by the performing body through a dialectic between image and utterance. Among my favorite moments here are the delirious syntax of the long poem 'Spasm' ('walk into my outline I disappear inside the / keeper's brain burrow deeper there until one / night he hears my voice as if it were his own') and 'Trace Elements,' a kind of postmortem aubade addressed to a listener named 'little tremble' with overtones simultaneously ominous and sympathetic 'I know you must / hear the inevitable crunch / of little teeth in the background.' Borkhuis' penchant for noir still flavors the pathos, but this book also demonstrates an expansion of his range into moments of generosity and something approaching exultation."—Tim Trace Peterson"In DISAPPEARING ACTS, comedy & tragedy are unmasked as the Marx Brothers—Groucho & Karl. Think: Kafka starring opposite Gloria Swanson in a remake of Sunset Boulevard for the Internet Age. Now you see it, now it sees you. Call the Roller of Big Cigars and bid him blow smoke in the face of the ontology police. After all, here we're talking 'subjectivity/ sans subject traveling the open circuit.' Yes, Borkhuis is at it again, dazzling us with another avant-garde page-turner, one where he's hitched his oxen to the oxymoron generator, tilling the fields with an equal dose of the marvelous and the macabre. Are you, dear reader, ready to reap this perfect collision of metaphysical inquiry with that of all of the conundrums of materiality? Now you see it, now it seizes you."—Noah Eli Gordon"In DISAPPEARING ACTS, Charles Borkhuis presents an eloquent manifesto of ontological stage craft. In nine sections, with no capitalization at all, a divided self voices meditations which concern a reality that he fears has become his past so rapidly only words can attach it to his consciousness. And words too readily reverse themselves, memory is retrieved but with static, and the dichotomy is all or nothingness. To be is to sound out in words; is cogitation, silent, being at all? Borkhuis has the courage of his discouragement. The voice is painfully serious, and the prosody is economical and without ornamentation. Uncertainty prevails. Discomfort is on stage. Is the reader the one on stage or the one in the audience? If there is any answer in DISAPPEARING ACTS, it is 'both.'"—John Godfrey
Charles Borkhuis is a poet, playwright, and essayist born and raised in NYC. His ten previous collections of poems include: Spontaneous Combustion [SurVision] - winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize 2021, FINELY TUNED STATIC, poems with paintings by John McCluskey [Lunar Chandelier], DEAD RINGER [BlazeVOX], DISAPPEARING ACTS [Chax], AFTERIMAGE [Chax], and Alpha Ruins [Bucknell University], selected by Fanny Howe as a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Book Award. His poems have appeared in six anthologies and his essays on contemporary poetics were included in Telling it Slant and We Who Love to Be Astonished [University of Alabama]. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals including: Brooklyn Rail, Otoliths, Marsh Hawk, Posit, BlazeVOX, SurVision, American Letters and Commentary, Avec, Big Bridge, First Intensity, Five Fingers, Jacket 2, New American Writing, o.blek, Talisman, Verse, and The World. He curated poetry readings for the Segue Foundation in NYC for 15 years. He translated New Exercises by Franck André Jamme [Wave]. His plays have been produced in NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hartford, San Diego, and Paris and have been published in 4 collections including Mouth of Shadows [Spuyten Duyvil], and Present Tense [Stage This 3]. His two radio plays The Sound of Fear Clapping and Foreign Bodies were produced for NPR [www.pennsound]. He is the recipient of a Drama-logue Award and the former editor of Theater: Ex, an experimental theater magazine. He recently moved from NYC and is presently living in San Diego. He has taught at Touro College and Hofstra University.