My Book = Some Beheadings

November 6, 2017 § Leave a comment

I have a book in the world and it is so beautiful, thanks to the wonderful Nightboat. Also, it has received some very generous attention in the form of blurbs, reviews, and a feature/interview; they are listed below.

A small note on the blurbs, especially as blurbs can sometimes seem weird and secretive, even though they’re public. The one by the incredible, ever so important to me, Etel Adnan reads differently because it’s from a postcard she sent me (!) last year in response to my chapbook Route: Marienbad, which I’d sent to her in Paris. When putting SB together, I asked Etel Adnan if we could use a quote from her postcard, since Route: Marienbad is one of the long “Route” poems in the book. And she said yes! This is the front of her postcard (it’s a Klee, duh):

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2017: Movies

February 12, 2018 § 1 Comment

This is a recap of the best movies I saw in 2017 that I hadn’t seen before. It was a good year (for movies).

I was thrilled to “discover” some women filmmakers’ whose work I wasn’t familiar with (Andrea Arnold, especially) and to watch more Akerman and Varda. I often found myself thinking about “performance”—as in, the thing an actor does that becomes notable, or is notable precisely because it isn’t. I’m not a fan of the Daniel Day-Lewis type . . . thing. I much prefer Robert Bresson’s rejection of the actorliness of actors:

ÊTRE (modèles) au lieu de PARAÎTRE (acteurs).
[BEING (models) instead of SEEMING (actors).]

I generally admire the work of those who use non-actors or not-well-known actors in their films—Bruno Dumont, for example, though he disappointed me terribly by using Juliette Binoche in his Camille Claudel 1915, a film I avoided for a long time out of fears that, turns out, were justified.

All this points to my appreciating restraint, silence, and an absence of gimmickry in the craft of acting. But then there are plenty of performances I love which have none of that. I mean, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy? Divine? James Gandolfini? So genre has something to do with it, but still it’s difficult to say what precisely “it” is, except that it’s inevitably thrown into relief by the ever-perplexing Anglophone awards season that’s now under way. (Isn’t the winner basically always either Meryl Streep or Charlize Theron in “ugly” makeup?)

Anywho, these are my favorite performances from movies I saw in 2017: Gillian Anderson in The House of Mirth, Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel, Ivan Dobronravov in The Return, James Howson in Wuthering Heights, Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out, Nicole Kidman in Birth, Vanessa Redgrave in The Devils, Delphine Seyrig in Jeanne Dielman, and the truly gifted and greatly under-valued Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer:

David Lynch. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. 1992.

Even movies I didn’t entirely love but appreciated for some reason or other (and often the reason was the casting) showcased some utterly moving work by actors: Ben Whishaw’s John Keats in Bright Star and Cynthia Nixon’s Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion; James Wilby and Rupert Graves in Maurice; and Ezra Miller as the psychopath progeny of Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin—Miller shall soon appear, I predict, in an Anne Rice-Sally Potter’s Orlando-pastiche about a fashionable vampire coming to terms with this ability to hang out in graveyards in daylight.

I despise Lars von Trier (except for the first season of The Kingdom) and Breaking the Waves is full of Trierisms, but Emily Watson kept me watching to the end. « Read the rest of this entry »

2017: Books

January 8, 2018 § Leave a comment

Recent* Poetry

Ida Börjel. Miximum Ca’canny The Sabotage Manuals. 2013. Translated from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida. Commune Editions, 2016.

Daniel Borzutzky. The Performance of Becoming Human. Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016.

Don Mee Choi. Hardly War. Wave Books, 2016.

Tim Earley. Linthead Stomp. Horse Less Press, 2016. « Read the rest of this entry »

VIDEO POEM: Hill Station

December 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

“Hill Station” is the second of three site-generated texts belonging to the sequence “Route: Western Ghats” in my book Some Beheadings. An early version of these three poems appeared in webConjunctions as an online supplement to their issue called Natural Causes. In many ways, these are the poems that began Some Beheadings, not because they were composed first (nor do they appear first in the book) but because they decided its thrust: a series of movements or routes through disparate landscapes. And the Western Ghats—which I visited for three monsoon-thick days in 2014, with the help of my brother, Siddarth Machado, who appears in this video, is a plant ecologist, and was then part of a research group cataloging species in the area—is primary among these landscapes. Primary because closest to home, because least manipulated, most biodiverse, densest.

Take this as a silent film, if you will.

Links to my book: at Nightboat; at SPD; at Amazon.

Link to another video poem: “Route: Thicket.”

SOME BEHEADINGS / Route: Thicket

September 18, 2017 § 2 Comments

My new and first and only book of poems will be out in a few weeks, so I’m making a few recordings (some audio, some video) in . . . really just in excitement for the whole thing. Everyone involved in helping this book to be is lovely. Anyway, here’s a video I made for a sequence called “Route: Thicket”:

(Yes, it’s meant to look like that.)

Some sections from this appeared, in a slightly different form, in The Capilano Review 3.28. “I am my land, expressed” is a quotation from Edmond Jabès’s The Book of Questions: Volume I (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop). CJ Martin and Julia Drescher are responsible for getting me to think about the word “attention” through their journal ATTN:.

Oh, and, while this is probably eminently boring for many people, and possibly against some kinds of reading (which I totally get), if one cares to read, this scene from Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar has lived in me for years and made its way into several poems, until, finally, this one: « Read the rest of this entry »

Inspirations of Fashion

June 12, 2017 § Leave a comment

Donald Glover in Gucci Coat

Purushu Arie in Purushu Arie

Sharon Needles (Aaron Cody) in Man Drag

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The Actor’s Face at Rest

April 21, 2017 § 2 Comments

It is never quite clear to me what the actor does.

What she does, when I discern something like doing, seems to hover between great style and great anonymity.

The style of some actors reveals itself in vocal and somatic stillness.

Others, through a clipped or frenzied movement.

In neither case do I receive the actor’s work as a full expression. Full as in the purported aptitude of form to enact (perfectly) a content. The notion that an actor might communicate with precision an inner sorrow, joy, or turmoil is to me absurd.

The silent and frenetic actors whom I enjoy never entirely convey their characters. There is too much that cannot be seen or heard. So the actor’s presence is a shape: a gravity, a sonority. Her personality resists novelization.

In this sense, style—or stylization—is a kind of anonymity. Actors of camp are virtually unrecognizable, as actors and as quotidian subjects.

I think that when style increases, anonymity increases also. But I also think that anonymity increases when style decreases. Anonymity always increases.

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