recentish poem about thinking and dead fish?
July 24, 2013 3:37 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading or hearing a contemporary poem that had a line about looking over silver glittery fish at a market, and thinking that they were all identical. The poem was intellectual rather than emotional or visual. A comparison was made to how humans are individuals, but fish (and by extension, categorical things) are just examples of an idea. This was the kind of thing I might have come across through NPR or the New Yorker - not obscure or anything.

I've tried a lot of google searches but can't remember anything specific enough about it so have read a lot of fish poetry that doesn't seem to be right. I feel like this was probably written by a man and described a moment in NY or an east coast city, but all I really remember was contrasting dead fish & people in terms of interchangeability, and a writing style that was more academic than personal.
posted by mdn to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure Tony Kushner quotes this poem at the end of a speech he gives about socialism, but I'm having trouble finding it right now.
posted by HeroZero at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2013

Best answer: A Display of Mackerel by Mark Doty.
posted by rtha at 3:43 PM on July 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: wonderful, thank you! I guess it is heavily visual too, just in a wordy way. But yes, this must be the one I was thinking of.
posted by mdn at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2013

I love Doty, though I don't have any specific memory of ever reading this poem. But some combination of "glittering, east coast/NY, written by a man" made me think of him - he loves glittering and gleaming things.
posted by rtha at 3:52 PM on July 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

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