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Transom:
Does the illness speak through the body the way the poet speaks through the poem?

Machado:
I think the first statement implied in the question is very apt: illness is a form of intelligence that’s unavoidable, manifesting on the body with a clarity impossible to poem and page. But I wonder about “speaking through” where speaking is a verbal, cognitive action. Does the poem then filter and render obscure/poetic some plainer truth the poet might otherwise have said? I think also, off late, I’ve been questioning some idea of “voice” as an instrument controlled by the poet, something calibrated by design, with the poem as evidence of that calibration. Is calibration the screen through which the poet speaks? On some level, I want for illness to disrupt that communication.

Transom:
This poem is recursive; it keeps folding back in on itself as a way to proceed forward. Does that paradoxical process reflect something in your writing practice? How did you end up in that practice?

Machado:
Yes! And: it occurred to me, re-reading my poem as if it weren’t my poem, that the speaker can go up the stairs and down, but has no destination, no home. There is no linear narrative of success to making any decision about how to proceed. It’s a moving up and down on some scale of consciousness that’s become metaphor. I like for poems to enact their concerns, so the movement can be felt instead of merely considered.