cover image Emporium


Aditi Machado. Nightboat, $16.95 ISBN 978-1-64362-029-9

Winner of the James Laughlin Award, the expansive collection from Machado (Some Beheadings) is both luxurious and cerebral, funneling her debut’s torqued syntax into a fever dream of “the silk route upon which I came.” “She said nothing but lacquer,” Machado writes, “Lacquer on this. The brain/ like a jelly, something trapped/ in it.” And though “The silkiness/ of the route was of an old time,” the scene of the emporium of the title challenges commerce: “& even money isn’t quite like money,” she observes. Not all moments strive for this ornate aesthetic; the book is equally striking when it lands a more self-contained desire or observation (“Let us make it lovely again,” she writes, and elsewhere, “I feel simply feelings”). Machado triumphs at never succumbing to predictable conclusions while searching for the individual amid the system of capitalism: “I am reporting on a country, peeking over the fence,/ shrieking, look! look! an interiority! such a/ private, green/ articulation!” This delightful book is full of depth and discovery. [em](Oct.) [/em]