The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine

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Overview

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 ...

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The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

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

This bold second collection is profane, political and humorous in its engagement with what it means to live, especially as a poet, in terrible times. A former National Poetry Series winner, Yakich (Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross) showcases a mixture of dark wit (in poems with titles like "Spell to Bring Me Osama Bin Laden"); clowning sorrow ("When I apply my manhood like makeup,/ Everything is at once promising/ and suspect"); strident opinions ("Let the mind worry/ about the logic. But don't // Forget to drag the body,/ As witness, through the sand"); and sociopolitical awareness ("What about a flag of bacon? Oh I would/ Not have the courage to fly it"). Private poems (on family, parenthood, sex, suicide) mediate between, and meditate on, the book's otherwise public focus, showing a softer side of Yakich's agile lyricism: "Paper,// Tell the tree/ I'm sorry.// Tree, tell/ The paper// My story." (Apr.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143113331
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/25/2008
  • Series: Poets, Penguin Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,474,418
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Yakich has worked in the European Parliament in Brussels and has degrees in political science, West European studies, and poetry.

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Read an Excerpt

ROSA PARKS

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?

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    Posted March 6, 2013

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