Some Beheadings

Aditi Machado (Author)


In Some Beheadings, winner of The Believer Poetry Award, the "beheaded" poet asks, "What does thinking feel like," as she displaces her mind into landscape, exploring territories as disparate as India's Western Ghats and the cinematic Mojave Desert, and as absurd as insomnia and dream.

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
Nightboat Books
Publish Date
November 03, 2017
5.4 X 0.4 X 7.4 inches | 0.3 pounds
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About the Author

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.


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. "I describe my day to myself as if I were perambulating through infinite foliage," she writes. The images take readers across time and space: to fields dotted with grazing ruminants; deserts whose "labial dunes" double as runes; and, in an oblique reference to the film Last Year at Marienbad, a Marienbad where a "single baroque animal/ opens a pomegranate" and "ancient civilizations spill out as red beads." Though the focus of the text meanders, the first-person perspective offers a sense of immediacy; in other words, however disembodied the thinking, and however omnidirectional the thought, the speaker grounds ideas with notions of physicality: "Can you wake up/ from a sentence like/ you wake up on the porch?" Machado's luscious descriptions--themselves "a mild decadence, an explicit/ industry as that of bees"--exude a palpable strangeness, and the speaker welcomes constant change and movement without requiring a resolution. The result is a labyrinthine sensorium where thinking about thinking generates ever more pleasures. (Oct.)--Publisher's Weekly