Sports have long served as inspiration for poetry-the ancient Greeks wrote odes in praise of their athletes-so it is little surprise that in a culture as obsessed with athletes as our own sports would exert an influence on contemporary poets. Motion: American Sports Poems rescues sports from our society's focus on superstars, multimillion-dollar contracts, and gold medals to capture champions and losers, competitors and spectators in moments that are anything but fleeting.

As Noah Blaustein points out in his preface, among the many parallels made between sports and poetry is the idea of transcendence. Forged from the most basic elements of sport-energy, movement, and rhythm-the poems in this anthology reflect something universal: sport as metaphor, sport as struggle, sport as the battleground for mythic figures and local heroes.
The often celebrated sports-baseball, boxing, football, and basketball-are here along with unexpected pastimes like surfing, skateboarding, tennis, soccer, karate, rock climbing, bowling, and curling. Young and old, black and white, male and female, the poets in this anthology celebrate everyone who has come together in the shimmy and shake and sweat of sport.

Foreward by John Edgar Wideman

Diane Ackerman, Pumping Iron
Kim Addonizio, Event
Kim Addonizio, Late Round
Elizabeth Alexander, Narrative: Ali
Sherman Alexie, Penance
Sherman Alexie, Why We Play Basketball
Agha Shahid Ali , The Jogger on Riverside Drive, 5:00 a.m.
Sam Allen, To Satch
Craig Arnold, Locker Room Etiquette
George Barlow, A Dream of the Ring: The Great Jack Johnson
Dorothy Barresi, Called Up: Tinker to Evers to Chance
Dorothy Barresi, Lifting
Marvin Bell, Slow
Marvin Bell, What They Do to You in Distant Places
Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish
Noah Blaustein, Water & Light
Kendra Borgmann, Rodeo Tangent
Kevin Bowen, Playing Basketball with the Viet Cong
Catherine Bowman, Dove at Sundown
Catherine Bowman, My Knicks Are Going to Beat Your Spurs—NBA Souvenir Bracelet 1999 for my Long Distance Love
Ralph Burns, Fishing in Winter
Ralph Burns, Memory
Douglas Carlson, Russ Joy Little League
Hayden Carruth, Capper Kaplinski at the North Side Cue Club
Raymond Carver, The Catch
Olena Kalytiak Davis, Moorer Denies Holyfield in Twelve
Mike Delp, Fishing the Dream
James Dickey, For the Death of Vince Lombardi
Norman Dubie, The Death of the Race Car Driver
Stephen Dunn, Competition
Stephen Dunn, Criminal
Stephen Dunn, Day and Night Handball
Cornelius Eady, Jack Johnson Does the Eagle Rock
John Engels, Bullhead
Martín Espada, The Man Who Beat Hemingway
David Allan Evans, Pole Vaulter
David Allan Evans, Song of Racquetball
B. H. Fairchild, Body and Soul
B. H. Fairchild, Old Men Playing Basketball
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Baseball Canto
Gary Fincke, Class A, Salem, the Rookie League
Robert Francis, Pitcher
Robert Francis, The Rock Climbers
Robert Francis, Two Wrestlers
Carol Frost, Custom
Carol Frost, To Kill a Deer
Brendan Galvin, The Knot Hole Gang
Brendan Galvin, Running
James Galvin, Shadow-Casting
Gary Gildner, 4th Base
Louise Glück, The Racer’s Widow
Linda Gregerson, Line Drive Caught by the Grace of God
Thom Gun, Skateboard
Donald Hall, The Fifth Inning
Donald Hall, The Eighth Inning
Forrest Hamer, Allegiance
Michael S. Harper, Archives
Michael S. Harper, Homage to the Brown Bomber
Michael S. Harper, Makin’ Jump Shots
Jeffrey Harrison, Hitting Golfballs off the Bluff
James Haug, Pool Is a Godless Sport
Robery Hayden, The Diver
David Hayward, To the Man Saying “Come on Seis” at Hollywood Park
William Heyen, Mantle
William Heyen, The Stadium
Frank Higgins, Tennis in the City
Brenda Hillman, The Y
David Hilton, I Try to Turn in My Jock
Edward Hirsch, Fast Break
Jonathan Holden, How to Play Night Baseball
Jonathan Holden, A Poem of Ed “Whitey” Ford
Paul Hoover, Baseball
Richard Hugo, From Altitude, the Diamonds
Richard Hugo, Letter to Mantsch from Havre
Richard Hugo, Missoula Softball Tournament
David Ignatow, The Boxing Match
Mark Jarman, Ground Swell
Randall Jarrell, Say Goodbye to Big Daddy
Louis Jenkins, Basketball
Louis Jenkins, Football
Galway Kinnell, Angling, a Day
Galway Kinnell, On the Tennis Court at Night
Carolyn Kizer, Horseback
August Kleinzahler, Winter Ball
Yusef Komunyakaa, Slam, Dunk, and & Hook
Maxine Kumin, 400-meter Freestyle
Maxine Kumin, To Swim, to Believe
Mark Kraushaar, Free Throw
Tony Lacavaro, The Advantages of Being a World Class Athlete
Adam Lefevre, Halftime
Philip Levine, The Right Cross
Adrian Louis, At the House of Ghosts
Thomas Lux, The Midnight Tennis Match
William Matthews, Cheap Shots, the Cincinnati Gardens, Professional Basketball, 1959
William Matthews, Foul Shots: A Clinic
William Matthews, In Memory of the Utah Stars
James McKean, Good “D”
Christopher Merrill, A Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball
Christopher Merrill, The Diver
Marianne Moore, Baseball and Writing
Rick Noguchi, When for Weeks the Sea Is Flat
Lisa Olstein, We Still Have Basketball, Sara
Greg Pape, Storm Surf
Linda Pastan, Baseball
Marge Piercy, Morning Athletes
Stanley Plumly, Karate
Jennifer Richter, Nothing but Bad News
David Roderick, The Curlers at Dusk
Theodore Roethke, The Pike
Mary Jo Salter, Sunday Skaters
Carl Sandburg, Hits and Runs
Floyd Skloot, Hook
Dave Smith, Blues for Benny Kid Paret
R. T. Smith, Softball at Julia Tutwiler Prison
Alan Soldofsky, Chin Music
Gary Soto, Black Hair
David St. John, My Grandfather’s Cap
William Stafford, Run before Dawn
Martin Steingesser, Shhussssssss
Dabney Stuart, Swinging on the First Pitch
James Tate, Lousy in Center Field
James Tate, Shadowboxing
Quincy Troupe, Forty-one Seconds on a Sunday in June, in Salt Lake City, Utah
Quincy Troupe, Poem for My Father; for Quincy Trouppe, Sr.
Dennis Trudell, The Jump Shooter
Ron Wellburn, Pitching Coups
Richard Wilbur, Running
William Carlos Williams, At the Ball Game
James Wright, Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

Notes on Contributors

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