The Making of Collateral Beauty
by Mark Yakich
Idiosyncratic, wry and unique, this small volume is both companion to and descendant of Yakich’s award-winning Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group, Waiting to Cross.
Idiosyncratic, wry and unique, this small volume is both companion to and descendant of Yakich’s award-winning Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group, Waiting to Cross. Each poem here shares a title with a poem in the previous book. Each poem expands on its namesake poem—gives the background—but a background you’ve never imagined! When a poet as vital and innovative as Yakich is telling the story behind the poem, the vignettes and characters that emerge from behind the scenes are as exuberant and playful as the originals. Another Tupelo book that looks at the meaning of what it is to create.
This poem begins with a line found under my sister’s hat as it laid on a bench in the European wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We weren’t even looking at the Balthus painting “the Mountain” from which the poem derives its novel name. The poem was first called “Seven Ways of Dying a little Girl’s Hair,” but I couldn’t decide on a color. The knife-sharpening of the pencil halfway through the poem really happened. Every morning out father would take a kitchen knife and sharpen our pencils. He made it look so easy that one morning I decided I would try. That is how I lost a good chunk of flesh from the knuckle of my left index finger. It didn’t hurt until I saw the blood. That’s when I fainted. When I cam to, my sister was fanning me with one of our grandfather’s dirty handkerchiefs. Our grandfather lived with us until I was 12. He lived in the den because he had no legs with which to climb the stairs; they had been shot off in so-called Big One. The walls of the den were lined with books, so that every time I went in to see him I felt as if he were the smartest man on earth. The books, my mother’s and father’s, were all nonfiction.
Index of Lawn Bowling of Index of Teenage Intimacy
A memorandum on the movie version of this poem: it’s bound to
be bad. But I still hope it’s made during my lifetime. The only place
I know it will be made satisfactory is if you and I were to sleep
together. Not the actual moment of syncopation, but the reticulation that follows.
The online journal Blackbird has published review of Mark Yakich’s The Making of Collateral Beauty, which concludes:
In short, Collateral Beauty is a virtuoso performance, serious play that demands a suspension of the usual expectations of narrative, allusion, and textual commentary. The tensions here lie in the multiple possibilities that any image or fragment of a tale presents to a truly inventive imagination and in the reader’ s willingness to sit back and enjoy the ride.