And now for something completely different…

Hello again and for the last time from sunny Arizona.  Today was the last day of spring training before breaking camp early on Sunday (as in 4 am early, the Indians don’t mess around) for Akron, Ohio.  So my next installment will probably be coming to you live from the Canal Park clubhouse while I wait around to see if they can clear the two feet of snow off the field and get the game in (just kidding… hopefully), so look forward to that.  As for actual baseball, I had my last outing of the spring Thursday and went out on a high note with two good innings, capping off a spring completely devoid of any road games–a “perfect spring” if you will.

 

With the obligatory baseball coverage out of the way, I’m going to devote some time to a completely unrelated topic.  As I’m sure literally dozens of people across America are aware, April is National Poetry Month.  Now I realize that reading poetry is not exactly at the top of the list of things that most people tend to spend inordinate amounts of free time doing, but it is a rewarding and engaging way to invest some spare time now and then in place of watching television or playing video games.  As the great American poet Robert Frost once said, “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat,” and amongst the many books I read over the course of the year the poetry tends to be some of the most impactful and memorable.  Not being a poet myself (sad to say), I won’t make an extensive attempt to describe the virtues of poetry, but for those of you who are interested in learning more I’ll give you a list of some of my poetic favorites that would provide a great starting point.  I would also direct you to the website for the Academy of American Poets at poets.org, where you can find information about poets and poetry, get information on events in your area, and sign up for the poem-a-day feature to get a poem from an American poet delivered to your email inbox everyday (one of the few emails I look forward to reading on a daily basis).  Enjoy.

 

Stephen Dunn

I first stumbled across Stephen Dunn about two years ago and he his books have quickly become some of my favorite reading material.  His best known book is Different Hours which won the Pulitzer prize for poetry, and he has a number of other excellent books including Everything Else in the World, Between Angels, and what is probably my favorite collection of poems–The Insistence of Beauty.

 

Other favorites:

Time and Materials, by Robert Hass

Repair, by C.K. Williams

Alive Together, by Lisel Mueller

Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman

Radio, Radio, by Ben Doyle

The Wasteland, by T.S. Eliot

Simple Language, by Jennifer Barone

Failure, by Philip Schultz

Floating City, Anne Pierson Wiese

 

4 comments

  1. juliasrants

    Neil – what a great post! As a teacher – poetry is such an important genre for kids to learn. Some on my second graders wrote acrostic poems – one for the Red Sox (my team!) and one for the Yankees and I posted them on my blog. Thank you for helping to promote both poetry and reading! Good luck and a safe trip!

    Julia
    http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

  2. scp23

    Hi Neil,
    I just wanted to say that as a baseball fan, (and an English major), I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.
    I’ve read some of the works on your favorites list and am looking forward to checking out some of the others. Also, thanks for the tip on the poetry emails…I just signed up. =0)

    I was actually just doing some writing about the beginning of the baseball season. It’s one of my favorite times of the year.

    I’ll leave you with a little excerpt, even though it’s not poetry…

    ~There’s nothing quite like opening night. It’s a time of hope and renewal. It’s a time that reminds us, above all else, that everything is still possible.~

  3. anaben@aol.com

    Dear Neil,

    I’m so happy that you enjoyed my book! It’s an honor to be included on your list of favorites, and perhaps FLOATING CITY will find its way to some new readers through this blog, which is, itself a pleasure to read.

    My best,

    Anne Pierson Wiese

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