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Some Beheadings
Aditi Machado

2017 • 112 pp. 5 1/2 x 7 1/2"
Poetry / Poetry - Women Authors / Poetry - Asian American

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-937658-73-1

“Machado’s steadfast and rigorous debut exists at the intersection of language and place, where thinking takes the shape of a tree or a thicket of “florid logic” that grows and... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A stunning debut collection that examines the geophilosophy of lyric poetry

Here the “beheaded” poet displaces her mind into the landscape, exploring territories as disparate as India’s Western Ghats and the cinematic Mojave Desert, as absurd as insomnia and dream. Some Beheadings asks three questions: “How does thinking happen?” “What does thinking feel like?” “How do I think about the future?” The second question takes primacy over the others, reflecting on what poets and critics have called “the sensuous intellect,” what needs to be felt in language, the contours of questions touched in sound and syntax.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Machado’s steadfast and rigorous debut exists at the intersection of language and place, where thinking takes the shape of a tree or a thicket of “florid logic” that grows and branches in multiple directions at once. . . . The result is a labyrinthine sensorium where thinking about thinking generates ever more pleasures.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Some Beheadings realizes a number of connections important to me—allusive (“Ozymandias”), philological (c.f. “to capitulate”), political (what we bear to witness), and philosophical (the notion of displacing the head as the seat of the intellect).”—Sarah Black, The Chicago Review of Books

“Aditi Machado has a profound gift for giving new shape to familiar concepts...It’s thrilling to read a language poet of such powers. Machado offers a fresh encounter with a world we thought we knew. “Every day I wake I see sun, / it’s blue.”—Ben Purkert, Guernica

“It’s hard for me to describe how excited I am about this book. Machado’s work is searing in its search and interrogation of the self, of faith, and of how these things relate to the world. Her poetry burrows within the mind and the soul and breaks open into the expansiveness of the worlds contained within. This is an important book; reading it will undoubtedly remove your head.”—Andrew Wessels, Tarpaulin Sky

“Hers is a collection that writes on the body, including the dismembered body, separating head from the torso, separating the physical body from the life of the mind.”—Rob McLennan

“To attempt to deconstruct these poems would be to blow them apart. They are utterly contemporary. They are deeply intimate. They are the lashes of a forest of thought.” —Mary Jo Bang

“If John Ashbery’s Some Trees marked a new beginning for modern American poetry, Aditi Machado’s Some Beheadings renovates the poetics of indeterminacy for our transnational continuous present. Tracing migratory routes through the thickets and deserts of signification—from the Western Ghats to Marienbad and beyond—Machado arrives at something like a spiritual allegory for the disenchanted. “Grace not of but as / god,” is the subject of her post-universal grammar, “that unusable concept / used in excess.” The grace of such work opens new prospects—or prospekts?—onto identity’s imperium: “& I is an orient in the sense that all things wend toward me.” Yet the spectre of sovereignty, in Machado’s literary imagination, remains ever haunted by its own linguistic predication. “I have lived,” observes this incomparable elegist of belonging, “is a way of saying something ceased.”—Srikanth Reddy

ADITI MACHADO is an Indian poet. Previous works include Route: Marienbad and her translation of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia. She is a PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of Denver.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:54:39 -0500