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Burning Man

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Michael Brownstein
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Contact Michael Brownstein

Michael Brownstein is the author of nine books of poetry and three novels: The Touch, Country Cousins, Self-Reliance: A Novel.

     His most recent book, World on Fire, is a prophetic, impassioned examination of corporate globalization. A personal book, World on Fire moves back and forth between the present and the post-apocalyptic future. Michael has read from it on many radio programs and at conferences and universities here and abroad.

     Michael is also involved in using psychoactive substances to provide the vision to see us through the end times. His main concern now is not blaming and accusing, but waking up.


Photo credit: Sally Egbert

Listen to a PodCast (MP3 file) of Michael's 2004 Burning Man talk
"Waking Up from the American Dream".

(From CampusI.com . . . a review of World on Fire)
      In our era of apocalyptic change, everything from terrorism to a stifling cultural sameness has become globalized. World on Fire is a poet's impassioned, prophetic examination of the human and environmentalconsequences of transnational capitalism.

     From the most recent developments in biotechnology to the brainwashing effects of mass media, from the addictive rush of global currency speculation to the rapid-fire annihilation of tropicalforests for chopsticks and oil, World on Fire is unsparing in its exposure of the corruption of our contemporary empire, or "Pax Americana." It suggests, paradoxically, that in this much-heralded "Age of Information," the dominantparadigms are disconnection and amnesia.

     The death of the author's tyrannical father after years of suffering from Alzheimer's becomes a potent symbol for a culture unable to face its own crimes or reckon with its own history. Drawing onsources including Noam Chomsky, Eduardo Galeano, and Vandana Shiva, Brownstein has created a new form combining poetry, personal narrative, and social analysis. He incites readers to look past a standardized remote-control world order andreconsider non-Western, more holistic social models.

     An anthem, manifesto, and call to arms, World on Fire asks the reader to step outside of ego's bomb shelter and face world upheaval without fear, thereby transforming disaster intoopportunity and allowing the space for the creation of a new life. This is a stunning and timely work from a writer who "combines an acute understanding of the human soul with a bold, poetic imagination" (Paul Auster on Brownstein's storycollection Music from the Evening of the World).

What people are saying about World on Fire

"Bold and ambitious, World on Fire engages the great issues of the day, mixing the personal with the political, demanding attention be paid, continuing in the American tradition of Whitman, Ginsberg, and Pound. Here is a howl for the 21st century."

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation


"Michael Brownstein's text (combination Jeremiah, Milton, Blake, and sci-fi horror movie) is a blueprint for the first real revolution since the Neolithic."

Hakim Bey, author of T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone


"Hard to put down, stopping no place for very long yet honed in on one . . . cathartic theme: how to defeat social and political indifference when fear and self-loathing are the engines of the economy itself. This is one of the most eloquent recent poetic works to cover the downsides of 'progress' and to cry out for a counterpunch against the
manipulations of empire."

(Starred Review) Publishers Weekly


"Outrageous and outraged, this book challenges the fear and greed that are destroying our world. Read it and respond."

Joan Halifax, author of Shamanic Voices


"An epic, visionary, kaleidoscopic treatise/poem that, amazingly, attempts to make sense of and show a way through the rich madness of our time . . . Partly wail of pain, partly ode to nature and human spirit, partly a last-ditch effort to consciously click back to a sustainable pathway, this book will leave the reader simultaneously exhausted, enlightened,
depressed, and exhilarated."

Jerry Mander, author of In the Absence of the Sacred, and President, International Forum on Globalization


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