Category: Writing

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.”

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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

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

*

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)

* Read More

Compressed Food Blog

Books, Food, Poetry, Prose, Television, Theory and Criticism, Translation, Writing May 31, 2016

1

I would very much like a machine that compresses my fruit.

Idgaf about sous vide, but a fruit compressor. Yes, please.

2

I love cooking for people, but tend to be nervous about it. I also haven’t done much of it since I moved to Denver three years ago, but I usually do a good bit when I’m visiting my family in Bangalore. On my most recent visit I made my folks risotto with clams. My brother said, “It’s like khichdi but Italian.”

3

I cry almost every episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table. I think it’s easily the best original series they’ve made.

If you don’t know, Chef’s Table devotes each episode to a different world-renowned chef. Some of them have Michelin stars, some don’t—but judging by Season 1, they’re all compelling, driven, philosophically-minded people. And some may not be as famous as other chefs who might have been invited to be profiled in this way, as this article on Ana Roš suggests.

There is something odd about having this relationship with fine dining when I really don’t fine dine. At all.

And something precarious too, because food as art only ever throws into relief food as utterly basic to living—not “a way of” of living, as though you could find a beautiful way to be destitute.

And yet I’m weeping over these chef’s creations, which I’m not ever going to eat. Part of it must be the honesty of it all, naked stories of struggle and triumph. And part of it is—not the dishonesty exactly—but what’s lurking under all of the very articulate—maybe over-articulated—philosophies which really are more like political statements.

Some of the weeping happened during the Dan Barber episode in Season 1, who comes off surprisingly unlikeable—not maybe in general, but to me. Barber goes into this thing about how he can’t really leave his kitchen in the hands of others and he has to be there, always. I think what I didn’t like about him is what I don’t like about myself.

4 Read More

N. B.

Books, Philosophy, Poetics, Poetry, Theory and Criticism, Translation, Writing May 26, 2015

I have about ten notebooks currently in my possession. This may not sound like a lot, but they have notes in them from every class and every guest lecture I’ve attended as a graduate student. I write on every page and am very sparing with the use of paper. So it is a lot, actually.

I’m about to enter a summer of what is known as “comprehensive exam study.” It is about as bureaucratic as it sounds.

In order to prepare for it, I’ve been going through these notebooks, deciding what I need around me as I attempt to think this summer.

And the notebooks don’t want me to.

Here are some excerpts from my notebooks, at random.

*

why does apostrophe allow a move to the present?

thing: “a gathering of people to make law” (Saxon)
etymology
(Joy[c]e: thing mode)

voice
|
the occasion for
constantly turning
in and what
comes out is
a new modality
something pure

but for Cecil [Taylor]
|
a breakdown
of the self
|
what
emerges is
a radical
sociality

“consent not to
be a single
thing” Read More

End of a Notebook

Poetry, Writing August 9, 2014

Sometimes I watch how other people use paper.

It upsets me when I see  someone write only one side of a sheet or write on alternate lines of ruled paper.

I grew up writing on every inch of paper I could find, not out of worry for the forests but for paper itself. I used, for the most part, very ordinary notebooks. Once I found an empty notebook from my mother’s college days and I used that. It was very yellow. Today I buy Moleskines (which, from the looks of the graduate classes I’ve been attending, some writers use all the time) only when I know they will be carefully used and preserved. Typically I only buy their daily planners or their most ordinary softcover notebooks to copy out my favorite poems.

You could say I have a kind of disgust for ill-used notebooks.

And then I have a stack of paper of all kinds: junk mail, receipts, old assignments no one will want anymore. I write on their empty backs: notes for poems, grocery lists, lists of things to do. I use post-it notes very sparingly. I think they’re dangerous.

It turns out there are older relatives in my family who use paper in this same way. I can’t say whether I learned this habit from them or if it simply runs in the family like a, I like to think, good gene.

Here’s an example from my college days. Notes from a college guest lecture on the Israeli-Palestine conflict written on foolscap:

College Notes

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Dream Diary

Psychology, Writing January 1, 2014

It amazes me constantly that adults say things like “My dream is to . . .” or “My dream came true” or “I know if I work hard enough, my dream will come true.” On American television, of which I am a passionate viewer, such things are expressed all the time. Which is odd to me because I work hard not to make my dreams come true.

I’ve been keeping a dream diary for about six months now; here are some excerpts, dates and names redacted:

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I’m on a terrace observing a sort of kingfisher that can stand on its head. We (elsewhere in the house) are deciding how a string of murders took place. The kingfisher is an immediate suspect and in the distance a wolf is the other suspect. But perhaps we are wrong, because later I am in bed in a deep, unremitting sleep in a room that looks uncannily like the room I live in now and uncannily not. Though asleep, I am strongly aware that a man (whom [sic?] in my sleep I have deduced is the actual murderer and who perhaps is aware that I am aware) is trying to get inside, through the door and windows. Outside, of which I am also profoundly aware—though asleep—it is incredibly bright. Somehow I am able to thwart the murderer’s attempts to enter, but I am still in bed and asleep and able to sense mounting danger. I am afraid for my death and still I cannot get out of bed. This is how much I want to sleep.

*

. . . I work for a business (am a partner in?) that washes women’s hair and promises improvement. (No hair is cut.)

A blonde client with curly hair. A bathtub full to the brim. Its temperature is hard to maintain.

The blonde woman asks if we do psychological testing in order to determine why she has bad hair.

I am confused. I say the bath will take care of everything.

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The Robing of the Bride + Notes + Recording

Books, Poetry, Translation, Writing December 17, 2013
Aditi Machado. The Robing of the Bride. 2013.

Aditi Machado. The Robing of the Bride. 2013.

I have this chapbook out from Dzanc Books, which Matt Bell picked for the Collagist Chapbook Contest in 2012.

I wrote the poems for the chapbook in fall of 2011, surprisingly enough in a craft class.

Usually, a craft class is a space of experimentation and weirdness for me. I get to do a bunch of fun things and maybe get one poem out of the mess I create. Mostly, it’s a lot of learning to be used later, when I’m unaware of the learning.

But for some reason, in this particular class, which studied and practiced different ways of (re-) (un-)writing history in poems, I wrote nearly forty poems. Some of them were fragments or wholes created out of older wholes or fragments, but many were brand new poems in forms that were new to me.

Turns out, I kept notes during this time.

RotB Notes_1

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