Archive for December, 2012

Rust Belt Sale!

wearing heels coverKnow a working-class or Rust Belt poet in your life?  If so, (shameless self promotion here), you may want to consider my December Holiday Sale.  From today until the end of 2012, I’m offering both my chapbooks, Stealing Dust (Finishing Line Press) and Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt (Main Street Rag) for the price of $12! Plus, you will also get free shipping! So yes, (without trying to sound like an infomercial) you get both chapbooks for the price of only $12!  If interested, drop me a note by email at

Love this List!

The end of the year looms in front of us, and everyone is posting and/or publishing their “Best of 2012” lists!  I won’t be posting mine until the end of December, but for now, take a look at Split This Rock’s Best of Poetry list for 2012.  There are some wonderful books.

Fast Break to Line Break

It’s basketball season! For those of us who read poetry, we may believe that baseball rules the poetic world when it comes to sports.  (This may be a naive and biased remark — I grew up in a baseball household and currently live in a baseball home. I don’t know a lot about other sports — when I read poetry that mentions sports, I instantly pick up and remember the baseball references)  However, the writers in Fast Break to Line Break: Poets on the Art of Basketball want to change this perception. This collection, edited by Todd Davis, is not an anthology of poetry. Instead, the poets’ essays found within its pages seek to find the connections between the art of basketball and the art of poetry.

In the introduction, Todd Davis and J.D. Scrimgeour note the relationship to poetry and the beginnings of basketball: “Just three months before the death of Walt Whitman, Dr. James Naismith nailed two peach baskets to the wall of the gymnasium at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts.” Davis and Scrimgeour go on to explain that “Whitman doubtless would have been pleased with Naismith’s game, born of necessity and joy, requiring ego and egolessness.” The death of Whitman and the birth of basketball occurred well over 100 years ago.  Still, many of today’s writers readily realize the connection between basketball and poetry. What follows the introduction is a collection of pieces that explore this connection.

Some essays focus more on memoir writing: others strive to connect the art of basketball to the art of poetry.  For instance, Jim Daniels, in his work, pieces together his failed attempts at basketball while cataloguing his journey to poetry. Stephen Dunn, on the other hand, seeks to spend more time examining the art between basketball and poetry noting, “Perhaps basketball and poetry have just a few things in common, but the most important is the possibility of transcendence.”

Many other poets, including Jeff Gundy, Jack Ridl, Richard Newman and Marjorie Maddox, are included in this anthology and most of their works fall in the loose genre of what may be defined as memoir.  Still, there are other essays that strive to deliver their messages while reaching outside the boundaries of essay writing.  For instance, Natalie Diaz in “Two Things You Need Balls to Do: A Miscellany from a Former Professional Basketball Player Turned Poet” (my favorite piece in the collection!), compares and contrasts basketball and poetry in a witty, ironic voice.  For instance, she states that when it comes to uniforms you need one to play pro ball, but to write poetry, you “can write in only your undies, or in a coffee-stained Allman Brothers Concert T-shirt.”  She also talks about her many physical  injuries playing basketball, saying, when it comes to injuries and poetry, “Once, I was rushing to the post office to make a postmark deadline, and I stubbed my toe on the curb out front.”

Do you have a basketball player who is also a poet in your life? Fast Break to Line Break would make a great present.  In fact, I would say that this collection is a great gift for those basketball players who would be a bit afraid to read poetry.  Certainly, the essays in this collection would change their minds!

Click here for an interview with Todd Davis and Jack Ridl who talk about the collection.

December Roosting

I woke up this morning to December.  Where does the time go?  We got some snow a few days ago, but most of it is now gone.  The new week or so calls for very nice weather.

Last month I let my poems return home.  I haven’t sent them back out and indeed, I am letting my work roost a bit. Currently, I have 32 rejections for the year, so it doesn’t look like I am even going to come close to my 100 rejection mark.  That’s okay.  This goal has pushed me to be a more active submitter, and that is a good thing.  I However, I also got some acceptances.  The one I am the most excited about is the fact that Spitball accepted my poem “My Father Never Played Baseball.”  Spitball is a literary journal that focuses on baseball, and when I wrote my small set of baseball poems, I definitely felt out of my element.  Again, that is a good thing. 

I haven’t done a lot of poetry writing in the last few weeks.  Regular readers of the Scrapper Poet know that I am investigating the genre of the short story.  I sent one story out, and am eagerly awaiting a rejection!

This weekend is the calm before the storm.  Next week, the end of the semester papers and tests will come drifting in.  Then, December will really get interesting.

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