In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse
In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse is equal parts experimental novel, half-charred psychiatric file, and self-help poetry book, highly fragmented yet woven together by recursive skeletons: lovers tossing wine down the river while contending with ghosts; a train-hopper who hides pens inside a drum; jails trying to escape themselves; people dying all over Boston; the refusal of food; the interaction between obsession, dream, and memory; animals and lichens loved and mourned; macho anarchists; answers sought desperately through cultural icons; bridges and bodies collapsing. Unnamed narrators rise and fall, weaving in and out of each other while silently nodding to something larger and also, as yet, unnamed. Though structured around the breakdown of voice, mind, and narrative itself, In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse is also a witness to what happens when these three things must pull themselves up and face forward again.
In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse was the winner of Civil Coping Mechanisms' Mainline Contest and was released in 2016. Read this excerpt at NOÖ Journal. Review it at Goodreads and Amazon.
Read Carolyn Zaikowski interviewed by Meghan Lamb at The Rumpus and by Rob McLennan at 12 or 20.
Praise and Reviews
What is Carolyn Zaikowski’s extraordinary In A Dream, I Dance By Myself, and I Collapse? Is it a fragmentary novel of pain, memory, and survival? Is it a handbook for finding beauty amidst suffocating violence? Is it an elegy? An incantation against decay, death, and loss? A plea for understanding in the face of the ineffable strangeness of being human? Or is it all these at once? Comprised voices, fables, dispatches, interviews, instructions, and gleefully subverted psychological questionnaires and medical intakes forms, Zaikowski weaves her kaleidoscopic tapestry in prose that is by turns blunt, raw, funny, searching, intimate, obsessive and shot through with bursts of radiant, destabilizing beauty. What a brilliant book.
–Gregory Howard, author of Hospice
Case studies. Quizzes. Announcements. Definitions. Interviews. Lists. Dreams. Carolyn Zaikowski’s In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse amalgamates these things into a workbook that is a novel doing a headstand. The emotional depth, generosity, and playfulness of this book makes want to write, and read on.
—Claire Donato, author of Burial
Equal parts vulnerable, logical, affirming, and schematic, In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse is a frothing workbook with ‘Floating fractals everywhere.’ Like a vending machine stocked with formal innovation, fabulist imagery, and rigorous self-examination, Zaikowski drops goodies all the way through. This is a must for anyone invested in how a self processes the world–and how the world processes a self.
—Amy King, author of The Missing Museum, I Want to Make You Safe, and others