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Friday, May 16, 2014

Poetry Friday--Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

In time for the 2014 season, we've added a newly published book called Heart of the Order: Baseball Poems: An Anthology edited by Gabriel Fried [811.008 HEA]. The back covers tells us, "Here are more than 70 of the best poems ever written about baseball." It's compact little paperback that would fit nicely in a pocket, ready to be pulled out and read between innings.

Do you want to know the best thing about this anthology? It DOES NOT include "Casey at the Bat"! May Swenson's "Analysis of Baseball" and Gail Mazur's "Baseball," both of which have seen a lot of exposure, deserve to be included, whereas Casey's time has come and gone.

The one I'd like to share celebrates the imagination and the dreams of many a young person.
by Stuart Dybek

I once hit clothespins
for the Chicago Cubs.
I'd go out after supper
when the wash was in
and collect clothespins
from under four stories
of clothesline.
A swing-and-a-miss
was a strike-out;
the garage roof, Willie Mays,
pounding his mitt
under a pop fly.
Bushes, a double,
off the fence, triple,
and over, home run.
The bleachers roared.
I was all they ever needed for the flag.
New records every game--
once, 10 homers in a row!
But sometimes I'd tag them
so hard they'd explode,
legs flying apart in midair,
pieces spinning crazily
in all directions.
Foul Ball! What else
could I call it?
The bat was real.

Elizabeth Steinglass has the Round-Up honors this week. I'd be willing to bet there's a baseball poem or two being shared in today's Poetry Friday offerings.


  1. This looks good -- I know so few baseball poems. Thanks for the heads up.

    1. I don't remember writing up an order card for it, so it was a lovely surprise to find it on the new book shelf!

  2. Great last line to that poem. It is haunting. Thanks for sharing this. Stuart Dybek is a good poet and he's worthy of more study.

    1. Yes, Joy, I'll have to look for more of his work.

  3. I love this poem. If the rest are half as interesting, I'm in. I love that you can put it in your pocket and take it to the game. Can you imagine my children's horror if I pulled that out while the pitcher was warming up?!

    1. But isn't that a mother's job--to embarrass her kids?

  4. I'm glad to know about this book. We love baseball and poetry at our house. I'm with you, liking that it doesn't have "Casey at the Bat." There is so much other poetry in baseball!

    1. If you haven't come across it, I'd also recommend Baseball Haiku.

  5. I have to have this! Love the energy and excitement in this - and all those baseball thoughts and feelings. Sigh. What a wonderful game!