After publishing my Sixty Morning Talks interview collection, I have begun work on a more focused, single-press interview series, offering a comprehensive oral history (a cinéma vérité, in prose) of Nightboat Books’ diverse and ambitious output over its first decade of publication. For this newer project, it particularly interests me to track interpersonal and intertextual constellations that have helped to shape the work done by Nightboat’s authors, publishers and designers. Nightboat will publish this interview collection late next year. This interview focuses on Daniel Borzutzky’s books, The Book of Interfering Bodies and In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy. The interview was recorded March 24, 2015 and transcribed by Nicole Monforton.—Andy Fitch
Andy Fitch: As I read In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy, immediately following The Book of Interfering Bodies, recurrent motifs or scenes struck me. Both projects seem haunted by specific familial and historical traumas. The oppressive Pinochet regime repeats, but so do certain nightmare scenarios, furtive perspectives, glimpses through a crack in the wall. Both books appear likewise haunted by contemporary journalistic anecdotes. In both, we encounter a 90-year-old woman who shoots herself as her house gets foreclosed. From Bhanu Kapil’s Schizophrene, I here would borrow the principle of mutation to describe how Carcass Economy emerges in relation to its predecessor. Perhaps we could say something similar about how your “solo” projects emerge amid translation projects. And we might want to address the intercultural grafting that takes place when you present tragedies of twentieth-century Chile to a contemporary U.S. audience. But could we start with how mutation plays out across your texts, from translations to texts, across historical moments?