CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 5, 2001
Baseball, hoop dreams and other sports poems
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "Sports are like sonnets. Sonnets are like sports,"
wrote writer John Edgar Wideman in a forward to "Motion: American Sports
Poems," a new anthology of sports poetry just released from the University
of Iowa Press. Noah Blaustein, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts
MFA program, edited the anthology that includes poems by Raymond Carver, Thom
Gunn, Diane Ackerman, Marvin Bell and others who pay tribute to everyday athletes,
legendary sports figures and to sport itself.
William Heyen idolizes Mickey Mantle for his 52 homers in '56 long before
he turned into a Brylcreem pitchman. Marvin Bell picks up steam in "Slow,"
where in 44 lines a runner, fatigued in the first 15 minutes of a run, outpaces
his fatigue, energized to take hills and stretching his endurance beyond two
At its heart, Blaustein's anthology reflects sports as Americana, where
in the competition of games, hope springs eternal and transcends most worldly
encumbrances, even race.
Michael S. Harper captures the spirit of long-forgotten black sports greats,
remembering Negro Leagues founder Josh Gibson, his days as a Globetrotter
and pays homage to fireball pitcher Satchel Paige, while with the same pen,
immortalizes Jackie Robinson.
Marge Piercy's panegyric "Morning Athletes" commends the nearly
everyday ritual of two mid-life women who run side by side, awkward in their
baggy improvisations, two bundles of rejects from the thrift shop.
"We are rich earthy cooks both of us and the flesh we are working off
was put on with grave pleasure
It's not the running I love, thump thump
with my leaden feet that only infrequently are winged and prancing, but the
light that glints off the cattails as the wind furrows them."
"Motion" also contains poems by Pulitzer Prize winning writers
Carl Sandburg and Elizabeth Bishop, the UI's Christopher Merrill, director
of the International Writing Program, and more than 80 other notable poets.
"Motion" is available in bookstores or directly from the UI Press
or Megan Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 1-800-621-2736.