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Mark Yakich
Mark Yakich

Things Said To Be Ineffable

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 28, 2017.
About this Poem 

“The word that one of the lovers has made up might be effable, which really isn't made up at all—it's just gone out of use. Effable sounds like an imprecation, a word that stems from precari, meaning ‘to pray.’ One likes to think that lovers enjoy a lot of praying, not with their words but with their bodies.”
—Mark Yakich

Things Said To Be Ineffable

A book decorates
A nightstand

And a body
Decorates a bed.

The nightstand
May be made

Of plastic, metal,
Or wood,

And is normally
The same

Height as the bed.
Even if they are

Very married,
Lovers tarry

And aver
And aver and

Tarry. Finally
One of them

Rises
To search

The dictionary
For a word

The other has
Made up.
 

Copyright © 2017 by Mark Yakich. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Mark Yakich. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

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National Poetry Month 2017 Poster
Writing from the Absence
American Poets, Spring-Summer 2017
poem

Poetry

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
      all this fiddle.
   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
      discovers that there is in
   it after all, a place for the genuine.
      Hands that can grasp, eyes
      that can dilate, hair that can rise
         if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
      they are
   useful; when they become so derivative as to become
      unintelligible, the
   same thing may be said for all of us—that we
      do not admire what
      we cannot understand. The bat,
         holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
      wolf under
   a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse
      that feels a flea, the base-
   ball fan, the statistician—case after case
      could be cited did
      one wish it; nor is it valid
         to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must
      make a distinction
   however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,
      the result is not poetry,
   nor till the autocrats among us can be
     “literalists of
      the imagination”—above
         insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them,
      shall we have
   it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance
       of their opinion—
   the raw material of poetry in
      all its rawness, and
      that which is on the other hand,
         genuine, then you are interested in poetry.

Marianne Moore
1919
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Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words....

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