Friday, November 14, 2008

The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine by Mark Yakich

One of the books I've enjoyed lately is The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine. It's one of those few books that split the difference well between experimental and emotional leanings. While others are purely dreamlike, others confront real world events like Sept. 11th. Some poems play around with shape, like "Please Present This Card At Ascension Church on Saturday, November the Fourth." This poem does so well while telling the story of a doomed marriage (with satirical humor). He can also make a unconventional chronological list of events related to potatoes emotional and touching. The poem "Proof Text," about the grim survival of a group of oppressed Ukrainians during WWII, is one of his best, both heartfelt about degradation survived but also postmodern in questioning how able we, the privileged, can tell these kind of stories. I really recommend this book.

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