by Christopher Bogart
Breakpoint is a collection of poems that speaks to a nation in crisis. Its poetry is commentary on a country that was built on the promise of the American Dream, and yet is now led by a president who, in 2015, declared that “The American Dream is dead!”
It explores the nightmares of Trump’s America: the rise of white supremacy, the separation of 5,400 migrant children from their families, the resurgence of virulent racism and the rise in hate crimes against Muslims, Jews, and people of color. These poems explore the promise our forefathers made of an American Dream – a dream enshrined in the words of the Declaration of Independence, on the base of the Statue of Liberty and in the hearts of immigrants who have come to America in search of that Dream.
This is a call to action, to protest, to participate and to break the silence of indifference—a silence we can no longer afford if we want the promises of America’s past to be fulfilled in the present, and to guarantee American’s future.
About the Author
Christopher Bogart is a retired educator and a working poet and writer with an MA in Creative Writing from Monmouth University. He began his MFA at Monmouth University in the fall of 2019.
His poetry has been published in Voices Rising from the Grove, Spindrift, WestWard Quarterly, Saggio Poetry Journal, The Monmouth Review (2013 and 2014), Mind Murals (2013), Whirlwind Review (Fall 2014), The Howl of Sorrow, a Collection of Poetry Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, This Broken Shore (Summer 2015. 2018), Jersey Shore Poets/First Edition, as well as various online sites.
In 2015, he was chosen as First Runner Up for Monmouth University’s inaugural The Joyce Carol Oates Award for Excellence in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction. In 2017, he was chosen as one of two finalists for The Brian Turner Literary Prize for Fiction. His chapbook about the Yuma 14, entitled 14: Antología del Sonoran, was awarded The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize (3rd Place) and published in October, 2018 by The Poetry Box. One of the poems in the collection, “Abraham Morales Hernandez,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for 2018.
He is presently writing poetry and short stories, translating the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca and Arthur Rimbaud into English, and is working on his first novel, tentatively titled The Beast, about the plight of two Honduran teenage migrants who flee poverty and crime of Central America in search of a better life in the United States of America.
Early Praise for Breakpoint:
In Breakpoint, poet Christopher Bogart speaks out directly and powerfully against injustice in today’s America. These poems explore the brutal echoes of past history that play out all too vividly in our current events, shining light on the social and political faces of our divided country’s broken promise. In this stirring collection, Bogart decries our wrongs, yet still holds out hope for a more humane America.
~ Linda Johnston Muhlhausen, author of Elephant Mountain
(寧為太平犬，不做亂世人) is usually translated as “It’s better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period.” Ironically, we have a cur for a president, and he has rendered our country chaotic. Chris Bogart’s poems reflect the range of emotional outrage DJT and his pack have induced in us. The book might be too intense if Bogart had not added the penultimate poem which leaves us hope. But that hope is spurious if we do not act. And our most important act is to vote.
~ R.A. Luc, MD
In trying times, Christopher Bogart reminds us of their genesis, their metastases, and their potential cures. “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence,” John Adams said, but these poems put those stubborn facts in contexts—some original to them, some new in our history—that offer hope for broader understanding and appreciation of their present significance.
~ Daniel Zimmerman, poet, author of The Interrupted Breath
Through the power of his passionate poetry, Christopher Bogart dares to ask what happened to the American dream. He charges us to remember that the realization of this dream began, not ended, with the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1620. Through his poems he begs the question, what became of our heritage, the “Land of the Pilgrims’ pride.” By reminding us that the promise of America was meant by our forefathers to be a continuing process, he challenges us, the readers, to take action and “…be the force of change within us all.
~ Susan Martin, author of Forty-fifth Reunion
In Breakpoint, author Christopher Bogart writes in the preface, “To be silent—to do nothing now—is probably the greatest existential threat to the future of American democracy, our democracy. It’s a silence we can no longer afford.” Bogart’s poetry certainly disturbs that silence, hovering in the space between the American Dream and the American Nightmare. Using diverse references from The Bible, Martin Luther King, Jr, Malcolm X, Ronald Reagan, Aristotle, and Abraham Lincoln among others, Bogart frames his poems which serve as commentary on current events and his views on American in the Trump era. Poignant images linger after each reading: the wall, the snake, the dead baby in her father’s arms, leaving the reader with an uneasy feeling that the American dreams of the past may also be taking its last breath too.
~ Liz deBeer, MA, EdD, retired English teacher, Fair Haven, NJ
From the beginning of this book Christopher Bogart proudly lets his position be known, unashamed and unafraid to kowtow to the destructive myth of false equivalencies. Bogart accurately recognizes that the right-wing remains pathologically focused on a past that never existed and drags us all down into a world of rigged elections, conspiracy theories and blatant misinformation. Bogart’s words shine through the lies to offer a better America. One of understanding and tolerance. Of multiculturalism and open mindedness. That despite its flaws, is an America that offers hope and the promise of a better life. Bogart believes in the best of America. That through education and interaction we can overcome ignorance. Bogart rejects the apathy and cynicism of many of his compatriots and fights with the best weapons he has available—his words.
~ Christian Perez, professor, Brookdale Community College
Christopher Bogart compares the current state of affairs in the Trump Administration with the democratic values defined in our Constitution. The author presents the reader with intelligent, thoughtful descriptions of the assaults by the Trump Administration on the country’s social mores, governance and institutions, not through blatant partisan rhetoric, but uniquely through his poetry. I eagerly anticipate gifting this wonderful book of poetry to friends and family to foster hope and change in these challenging times.
~ Anne G. Fox, RN,
New Jersey State Refugee Health Coordinator, retired
Christopher Bogart addresses the nightmare of this American moment through a series of binary oppositions, lies/truth, silence/protest, and others. Alluding to the deep festering divisions that are the foundation of our injustices he compellingly places contemporary problems in the context of the long arc of history. Calling forth myths, both ancient and recent, he unflinchingly offers not only the horrors but the comforts of hope, suggesting that we have been through this, many times, before and we will once again emerge into the light.
~ Frank Ramme, artist, activist
Wordsmith Chris Bogart crafted the Breakpoint with utmost precision. Through the ageless eloquence of poetry, he shines a light on the xenophobic paranoia and seething racial and ethnic injustice that engulfs our nation and threatens its very existence. An essential read for those who care about the future of America—a country now under siege—a country that must search for its soul—a country that must rekindle the true American Dream.
~ Robert Starosciak, author of The Bobby Fulton Story