• News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment


Man versus Fish on the Illinois River

Listen to this Story
Larger view
Fishing the Illinois
View the Slideshow

The trouble started when the carp busted out of the ponds. At least that's what they think happened in Bath, Ill. In Bath, the Illinois River is overrun with an invasive fish species called the Asian silverhead carp. To help rid the river of the carp, this weekend is the Redneck Fishing Tournament. But the fish have a serious handicap. Something about the motor of boats excites them and they actually jump right into the boat. The main thing is not to get hit by one on its way into your net. Weekend America's Kelly McEvers brings us this bizarre tale of fish and not really fishing.


There is more to fish than meets the eye. Poet Mark Doty reads his poem "A Display of Mackerel" and shares his thoughts on the slippery species with Weekend America.

"A Display of Mackerel," by Mark Doty

They lie in parallel rows,
on ice, head to tail,
each a foot of luminosity

barred with black bands,
which divide the scales'
radiant sections

like seams of lead
in a Tiffany window.
Iridescent, watery

prismatics: think abalone,
the wildly rainbowed
mirror of a soapbubble sphere,

think sun on gasoline.
Splendor, and splendor,
and not a one in any way

distinguished from the other
--nothing about them
of individuality. Instead

they're all exact expressions
of one soul,
each a perfect fulfillment

of heaven's template,
mackerel essence. As if,
after a lifetime arriving

at this enameling, the jeweler's
made uncountable examples,
each as intricate

in its oily fabulation
as the one before.
Suppose we could iridesce,

like these, and lose ourselves
entirely in the universe
of shimmer--would you want

to be yourself only,
unduplicatable, doomed
to be lost? They'd prefer,

plainly, to be flashing participants,
multitudinous. Even now
they seem to be bolting

forward, heedless of stasis.
They don't care they're dead
and nearly frozen,

just as, presumably,
they didn't care that they were living:
all, all for all,

the rainbowed school
and its acres of brilliant classrooms,
in which no verb is singular,

or every one is. How happy they seem,
even on ice, to be together, selfless,
which is the price of gleaming.

  • Music Bridge:
    Opera House Stomp
    Artist: Harris Newman
    CD: Decorated (Strange Attractors Audio House)
More stories from our Sustainability series


  • Comment | Refresh

  • Post a Comment: Please be civil, brief and relevant.

    Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. All comments are moderated. Weekend America reserves the right to edit any comments on this site and to read them on the air if they are extra-interesting. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting.

      Form is no longer active


    You must be 13 or over to submit information to American Public Media. The information entered into this form will not be used to send unsolicited email and will not be sold to a third party. For more information see Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Download Weekend America

Weekend Weather

From the January 31 broadcast

Support American Public Media with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
 ©2015 American Public Media