Category: Poetry

Epistle to the Efficience

Poetry June 13, 2019

Excerpts from this poem have appared in the Berkeley Poetry Review 49 and The Rumpus.

‘A kind of malignant mind / creeps through the earth lit only by the light / of the movies’: Ray Ragosta

‘a spasm / a psalm’: Geoffrey Hill

‘that is not mine’ & ‘that is mine, it is / so near to the heart’: Robert Duncan.

‘I cultivate a primrose’: The Hindu Crossword 11779 by Aspartame.

‘decay with imprecision’: T. S. Eliot

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2018 in Books

Books, Poetry, Prose, Theory and Criticism, Translation January 20, 2019

These are books I read, for the first time, with great joy and curiosity last year, not necessarily those that were published in 2018. If excellent recent books are missing from this list, it is probably  because I haven’t read them yet.

POETRY

Adonis. Concerto al-Quds. Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mattawa. Yale University Press, 2017.

Ghayath Almadhoun. Adrenalin. Translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham. Action Books, 2017.

Nanni Balestrini. Blackout. Translated from the Italian by Peter Valente. Commune Editions, 2017.

Jasper Bernes. We Are Nothing and So Can You. Commune Editions, 2015.

Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge. Hello, the Roses. New Directions, 2013.

Wilson Bueno. Paraguayan Sea. Translated from the Portunhol by Erín Moure. Nightboat Books, 2017.

Marty Cain. Kids of the Black Hole. Trembling Pillow Press, 2017.

Serena Chopra. Ic: A Sociolinguistic Conspiracy Theory. Horse Less Press, 2017.

Mónica de la Torre. Public Domain. Roof Books, 2008.

Terrence Hayes. American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin. Penguin, 2018.

Johannes Heldén. Astroecology. Translated from the Swedish by Kirkwood Adams, Elizabeth Clark Wessel, and Johannes Heldén. Argos Books, 2017.

Ann Jäderlund. Which once had been meadow. Translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson. Black Square Editions, 2017.

Francis Ponge. Nioque of the Early-Spring. Translated from the French by Jonathan Larson. The Song Cave, 2018.

Laura (Riding) Jackson. Selected Poems: In Five Sets. 1970.

Lisa Robertson. Proverbs of a She-Dandy. 2018.

Nathaniel Rosenthalis. A Shirt for Today. Yes Poetry, 2018.

Muriel Rukeyser. The Book of the Dead. 1936.

Christopher Smart. Jubilate Agno. 1759-1763.

Eleni Vakalo. Before Lyricism. Translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich. Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017.

Uljana Wolf. Subsisters: Selected Poems. Translated from the German by Sophie Seita. Belladonna*, 2017.

Zang Di. The Roots of Wisdom: Selected Poems. Translated from the Chinese by Eleanor Goodman. Zephyr Press, 2017.

NONFICTION

H. D. Notes on Thought and Vision and the Wise Sappho. 1919.

Jeffrey Kittay and Wlad Godzich. The Emergence of Prose: An Essay in Prosaics. University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

Cookie Mueller. Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black. Semiotext(e), 1990.

Michael W. Twitty. The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South. Amistad Press, 2017.

POST-SCRIPT

There are many excellent books I didn’t finish, through no fault of the book. I just got sidetracked or was forced to give up the book for something like re-reading a book I was teaching or writing my goddamned dissertation. A very few among these unfinished excellences:  Jos Charles’s feeld (which, thankfully, I’m now reading with my poetry workshop students),  Zadie Smith’s White Teeth,  about half a dozen volumes of translated poetry I’m reading for the BTBAs, and another half a dozen works of nonfiction that I will finish, yes, I will, in 2019.

2017: Books

Books, Language, Poetics, Poetry, Prose, Theory and Criticism, Translation January 8, 2018

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 More

VIDEO POEM: Hill Station

Books, Cinema, Poetry, Writing December 12, 2017

“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.”

My Book = Some Beheadings

Art, Books, Poetry November 6, 2017

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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SOME BEHEADINGS / Route: Thicket

Books, Cinema, Poetry, Writing September 18, 2017

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 More

Foreword to Farid Tali’s PROSOPOPOEIA

Books, Poetry, Translation April 4, 2017

Mortal, think: what’s under a charnel’s lid:
a worm-bitten corpse, bare of nerve and
bare of flesh, whose naked bones, undone
and stripped of pulp, their swivels quit:

here, out of putrefaction, falls a hand,
and there, turning inside out, the eyes
distill into phlegm, and varied muscles,
for gluttonous worms, become some grassy land:

the torn-up belly blaring with stink
infects the nearby air with a foul stench,
and the half-gnawed nose deforms the face;

Jean-Baptiste Chassignet (1594)

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This poem forewords Tali’s story of the death of a brother. The book describes the decomposition of the brother’s body upon death, and also its ruination by drug addiction and AIDS when alive. Chassignet’s baroque sonnet is thus very apt. Tali presents it incomplete—fragmented—as is the body, the narrative, elegy. You can read the entire poem, in French, here.

The translation of the poem is mine.

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You can buy this book from Action Books or SPD.

 

 

2016: Books

Books, Cinema, Comics, Fashion, Journals, Philosophy, Photography, Poetics, Poetry, Prose, Psychology, Theory and Criticism, Translation, Writing January 5, 2017

Bref, I read a lot of poetry translated from German and a lot of nonfiction translated from French. This is not very shocking. Much of my non-book reading happened at Asymptote: this reading (plus editing) is far more diverse and includes work by poets like Vicente Huidobro (Chile), Jan Dammu (Iraq), and writers who push at the limits of what translation means (the Special Feature in our January issue). One of my favorite pieces of this latter sort is Bronwyn Haslam’s anagrammatic translations of Nicole Brossard’s poetry (“Soft Links” becomes “Silk Fonts,” for example):

It’s nouns that gulp fire and life, one can’t tell if they’re Latin, French, Urdu, Veda, Cree, Mandarin, Aleut, Creole, Basque, English, secrete a number, deed, quorum, animal or accelerate old anxieties eddying before us in doubled somber contours full of luster and immense legends.

I also got to collaborate with my friend Michael Joseph Walsh to put together a different sort of experimental translation portfolio for Denver Quarterly 50.4 I have a few extra copies and would be happy to mail them to anyone interested (or you can subscribe). Joshua Ware’s visual translations of Celan appear as an online supplement to this portfolio here.

Photography by Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault

Photographs by Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault

For some years now I’ve been obsessed with a film by Yvon Marciano called Le cri de la soie (1996), which fictionalizes the life of pioneer psychiatrist Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault. This year I read two texts relevant to this film, de Clérambault’s case studies of women who developed an unusual sexual “passion” for silk and other textiles: Passion érotique des étoffes chez la femme (1908) and its suite (1910). Read More

2016

Cinema, Fashion, Food, Journals, Language, Philosophy, Poetics, Poetry, Prose, Television, Theory and Criticism, Translation, Writing December 31, 2016

11.01.16

Resolutions:
– speak less of other people
– watch more good cinema
– sleep well

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15.01.16

I found a poem I wrote on 06.04.09 called “A doctoral student confesses”—it is oddly prescient:

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19.01.16

“so sound would be plural like description is” (Giscome Road 52)

“Sentences find you, style finds you on the road out; it overtakes you effortlessly, it palavers” (69)

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28.01.16

“circumbabeled”
Celan/Joris (327)

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(Recent) Women (Poets) in Translation

Books, Poetry, Translation August 29, 2016

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