A review of
by Daniel Borzutzky
The two-or-three-page prose piece is a peculiar genre for which none of our handful of names—minute fiction, flash fiction, short-short—is convincing. I would like to put forth the term Daisy Duke.
In the last decade or so, the Daisy Duke has become our most flexible genre, and often seems to vaporize poetry and fiction with its endless formal possibility. Indeed, the Daisy Duke’s great subject may be the boundary itself. In his debut collection, Arbitrary Tales (Triple Press), Daniel Borzutzky takes this formal irresolution past even the usual hinterlands, to a kind of no-fly zone, and shows himself to be a true avant-gardist. His eight-page piece called “The Sirens of the Silent City: A Silent Opera” is left-justified, like a poem; divided into three acts, like a play; and begins with the haunting lines “The sirens of the silent city / Sang ‘Oh silent city, convince us / That the song we sing / Is not being sung by us…,” a plaint that inquires whether a people can be other than their actions, or different than the story of their lives, which is fitting when you consider than to the literary object containing this question won’t decide what it is, either.
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