“Not A Thing For The Marketplace, A Thing For Its Own Sake”

Mark Yakich answered the question “what is a poem?” for the Atlantic:

When we come across a poem—any poem—our first assumption should not be to prejudice it as a thing of beauty, but simply as a thing. The linguists and theorists tells us that language is all metaphor in the first place. The word “apple” has no inherent link with that bright red, edible object on my desk right now. But the intricacies of signifiers and signifieds fade from view after college. Because of its special status—set apart in a magazine or a book, all that white space pressing upon it—a poem still has the ability to surprise, if only for a moment which is outside all the real and virtual, the aural and digital chatter that envelopes it, and us.

I highly recommend the essay. Not sure if I agree on all points, but it is excellent grease for the machine, prey for the wild animal. 

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