“REARVIEW MIRROR is the work of an important poet at the height of his powers. With a wink and a tear, Charles Borkhuis takes us on an existential picaresque to confront the tragic joke of the human condition. Sparkling and sparking with insight and wit, this tour de force navigates the ‘bumpy ride from here to nowhere’ to probe the paradox at reality’s heart. Flavored with Borkhuis’s signature noir idiom and imagery, these agile poems ‘leap / across death’s gummy shoe’ with a frisson of edgy pleasure. With his tongue in his cheek and his heart on his sleeve, the narrator may be ‘just another private dick / lost in the laundry bin of soiled dreams,’ but the poet’s pursuit of ‘the nothing behind something /that keeps everything afloat’ deftly delivers the discomfiting goods. Borkhuis’s scientific and theoretical erudition turbo-charges the poetic chops with which he nails twist upon turn of these deep dives into the ‘reversal and contradiction at the core’ of reality, right down to the void, ‘populated by virtual particles / that pop in for a quick bite and run.’ Taking up from Hammett and Beckett, Heisenberg and Descartes, the Bard and Baudelaire, this work deconstructs the pathos of satire, the poetics of cosmology, and the metaphysics of the absurd. What luck, since ‘one must ride . . . the hills on breath alone / strapped to a wave of talking flames,’ to have Charles Borkhuis at the wheel, stunt-driving language into the probabilistic heart of reality’s paradox, leaving ‘this projected world’ barely visible in the rearview mirror.” —Susan Lewis, Editor-in-chief of Posit and author of Zoom
“His shoes gripping the pavement, eyes looking across the vast spaces of the galaxy and beyond, the narrator of REARVIEW MIRROR is the final noir detective in a supernova universe. These are sly poems, comic and tragic, that peel back layers of con game deception.” —Mark Wallace, author of Felonies of Illusion
“The rapidity & delight of Charles Borkhuis’s poetry, set against the serious matters of truth & lies, of light & darkness, is difficult to capture & impossible to escape. And all of this he delivers with a master’s sure sense of humor & grief, the badge of a poet at the top of his powers, which I read now with ever-growing delight, & still can’t stop reading.” —Jerome Rothenberg, author of Technicians of the Sacred and Poland/1931
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.