The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine

Penguin Poets

Mark Yakich - Author

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ISBN 9780143113331 | 128 pages | 25 Mar 2008 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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An unconventional new collection from a National Poetry Series award winner

Mark Yakich 's acclaimed debut collection, Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross, examined the blessing and curse of romantic love in its multiplicities. The poems in his new collection approach questions of suffering and atrocity (e.g., war, genocide, fallen soufflés) with discerning humor and unconventional comedy. These poems show how humor can be taken as seriously as straight-ahead solemnity and how we can re-envision solemnity in terms other than lamentation, protest, and memorial.


after Auden after Dante

O what heavenly suffering—
What she can and can't do.
(Save her a dance, Bruegel.)
From knee to shining knee,
Where is the painting of her
Feet, which have never been
Comfortable, arranged in pairs
As peaches are, relaxed, nothing
To do. Where is she not
Not speaking No! trying
To keep her world small and
Bold. Where is she confessing
Yes: I am neither arctic ox
Nor Peruvian goat. But ah,
But oh, this is she, nose-flared
And ear-deep along a tangled
Bank, trying to find an end
To the story of people being
Bought and sold. The raw
Years thaw and thaw and
The law makes big men
Amend but a little. When she
Lay down for the last time,
Did You tell her, O Lord—
I couldn't—how white those
Dark woods would get?

"Yakich's poetry radiates an aura of fresher imaginative possibilities that is invigorating in politically literal times."
-San Francisco Chronicle

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