Apocalypse, Darling: A Selected Bibliography

April 11th, 2018

From award-winning author Barrie Jean Borich comes Apocalypse, Darling, a narrative, lyrical exploration of the clash between old and new. Set in the steel mill regions of Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, the story centers on Borich’s return to a decimated landscape for a misbegotten wedding in which her spouse’s father marries his high school sweetheart. The book is a lilting journey into an ill-fated moment, where families attempt to find communion in tense gathering spaces and across their most formative disappointments. Borich tells the story of the industrial heartland that produced the steel that made American cities—while also being one of the most toxic environmental sites in the world. 

As concise as a poem and as sweeping as an epic novel, Apocalypse, Darling explores the intersection of American traditional and self-invented social identities and the destruction and regreening of industrial cityscapes. Borich asks: Can toxic landscapes actually be remediated, and can patriarchal fathers ever really be forgiven? In a political climate where Borich is forced to daily reenter the toxic wastelands she thought she’d long left behind, Apocalypse, Darling is an urgent collision of broken spaces, dysfunctional affections, and the reach toward familial and environmental repair. Barrie Jean Borich will  discuss Apocalypse, Darling on April 23 at 6pm at the Seminary Co-op.

A Woman Is Talking to Death, by Judy Grahnbecause this long poem that some call the lesbian “Howl” taught me to see queerly.
Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir, by Susanne Antonettabecause this book so lyrically links toxicity, the land, the body, and the family.
Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, by David Wojnarowiczbecause this book taught me to essay queerly.
Exit Zero: Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago, by Christine J. Walleybecause this is only autobiographical book I’ve ever read about the neighborhoods and industries that made my family.
Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams - because this book also lyrically links toxicity, the land, the body, and the family.
Revealing Chicago: An Aerial Portraitby Terry Evansbecause these photographs helped me see the land that made me in context with the rest of this urban prairie region.
Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscapeby Lauret Savoybecause this book lyrically, historically, and scientifically links racism, the land, the body, and the family.
Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, edited by William Crononbecause this book also articulates the relationship of places and land to what human language and understanding bring to place and land.
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, by Natalie Y. Moorebecause this book bears witness to some of the urban history regarding race and neighborhood that defined much of my childhood and adolescence.
The Waste Land and Other Writingsby T.S. Eliot and Mary Karrbecause Mary Karr’s introduction to Eliot’s poem in this edition articulates how in Apocalypse, Darling  I aurally linked the poem to my own experience by repeatedly just listening to the language. 


Barrie Jean Borich is the author of Apocalypse, Darling (Ohio State University Press: Mad Creek Crooks/Machete Series in Literary Nonfiction 2018). PopMatters said “Apocalypse, Darling soars and seems to live as a new form altogether. It's poetry, a meditation on life as ‘the other,’ creative non-fiction, and abstract art.” Her memoir Body Geographic (University of Nebraska Press/American Lives Series 2013) won a Lambda Literary Award in Memoir, an IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) Gold Medal in Essay/Creative Nonfiction, and a 2013 Forward INDIE Bronze Award for Essays. In a starred review Kirkus called Body Geographic “an elegant literary map that celebrates shifting topographies as well as human bodies in motion, not only across water and land, but also through life.” Borich’s previous book, My Lesbian Husband (Graywolf 1999, 2000), won the American Library Association Stonewall Book Award. She is an associate professor in the Department of English and MA in Writing and Publishing Program at DePaul University in Chicago, where she edits Slag Glass City, a journal of the urban essay arts.

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