Mark Yakich Dissects September 12, 2001


Today we present a gallery of three self-annotated poems by our newest Verified Poet, Mark Yakich. We’re thrilled not only that Yakich shared so many insights into his process, but that he broke down three very different kinds of poems.”Holy Sonnet” is a cheerfully blasphemous, John Donne-like mashup of religion and sex. “A Brief History of Patriotism” is a chronicle of the Western world as told through events involving potatoes. (Roll with it.) And “September 12” is a meditation on the day after the worst day in modern American history:

                           But don’t be deceived:
Letters aren’t grave markers.
Over our fears, which are not many but deep,

We’ve tried to live the children’s lives
Through love, and they’ve tried to give us
More of their lives by screaming
At each other. This is to be expected…

Mark Yakich is an associate professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, where he is also editor of New Orleans Review. He is the author of numerous books, including Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross (National Poetry Series, Penguin 2004), The Making of Collateral Beauty (Snowbound Chapbook Award, Tupelo 2006), Green Zone New Orleans(Press Street 2008), The Importance of Peeling Potatoes in Ukraine (Penguin 2008), and Checking In/Checking Out (NO Books). He’s also the co-founder and co-editor of, a project that aims to reinvent airplane reading. (Poetry Brain endorses this mission.)

Also, this is his website, which begs for a Rap Genius breakdown all its own.

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