Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Mom, apple pie, and...poetry?  Most people don't consider rhymed verse the great American pass time.  Nor do we often connect homers, chewing tobacco, and public scratching with the likes of ee cummings or Langston Hughes.  Yet, there's a delightful little magazine out there that manages to combine the two.

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm not a poet by nature.  I've written short stories, essays, even a piece for the AKC Gazette, the magazine of the American Kennel Club.  Poetry tends to be reserved for when I want to be obnoxious, when I've had a few too many, or when I want to aggravate the heck out of my sister, who is a poet.  I did, however, have one poem published in my life and it just happened to  be about baseball.  Actually, it combined my mother and baseball and didn't mention crotch scratching.  It was called The Utility Player and came out in the Spring 1994 issue of SpitballSpitball is, yes, a literary baseball magazine.  It is filled with not only poetry but fiction, non-fiction, and art as well.  Curl up with the latest issue and an over sized plate of nachos and you have the makings for a great afternoon.

The reason I bring up Spitball is because people often think that poetry can only be about serious issues.  It's the place to rage against an abusive parent, lament the politicians who've brought us to this state of affairs, ponder the meaning of it all.  Obviously, there are plenty of poets who write about those things, but maybe that's not your style.  Plenty of poems have been written about the green grass in a meadow.  Give me the green grass surrounding first base.  Many have written of the pain of losing a loved one.  I can write about the pain of being a Cubs fan and nearing the centennial mark since our last World Series win.

In case you weren't aware, this month of April is not only the first full month of the baseball season but also National Poetry Month.  There's a great website called Nudged to Write, where you can find all sorts of links, prompts, and information about both National Poetry Month and poetry in general.  The site is owned by Nancy Breen, former editor of Poet's Market and a widely published poet, as well as the aforementioned sister of mine who I like to aggravate with my poetry.  It was while reading some of her writing prompts that I got to thinking about the baseball-poetry connection.  I know she would approve of writing about what you know and love.  And I'm sure she'd agree that there is room in the poetry world for all topics.

NOTE:  If you sign up for the Nudged to Write newsletter, she'll send you a free e-book of writing prompts based on famous poets' works.  I love a freebie almost as much as I love baseball...and nachos.