Anticipating tomorrow’s Opening Game, National Public Radio’s All Thing’s Considered did a feature this afternoon titled “Spring Signals the Return of Baseball (Haiku)” (Debbie Elliott, March 31, 2007). Click the Listen button to hear the audio version of the segment. Here’s the online description:
All Things Considered, March 31, 2007 · Japan’s love for baseball has translated into an art form: baseball haiku. Cor van den Heuvel has edited a new anthology of baseball haiku, including a poem by Jack Kerouac. He speaks with Debbie Elliott about the book.
Cor tells why baseball and haiku are made for eachother. He reads a few haiku, and a recording is played of Jack Kerouac reading one of his own baseball haiku. Kerouac is believed to be the first American poet to write a baseball haiku.
Of course, we’ve been featuring poems the past few days from Baseball Haiku (Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, eds., W.W. Norton Press, April 2007) (see here, there, here; and told you all about the book back in January, here) The book is officially released on opening day, April 1, 2007.
the boy’s fingertips caress
rumble of thunder
the boy still looking for the ball
in the grass
…………………………………. by Lee Gurga – Baseball Haiku (2007)
“rumble of thunder” orig. pub. Too Busy for Spring, 1999 HNA Anthology
Click for dagosan‘s nod at Magnapoets to baseball’s Opening Day.
update (April 1, 2007): The Los Angeles Times had an opinion piece yesterday on the new Baseball Haiku book. Unfortunately, the headline helps to perpetuate the incorrect plural spelling of haiku (by using an “s”): “Baseball haiku
s” (LATimes.com, March 31, 2007; free registration needed to see the entire piece). update (April 22, 2007): Cor van den Heuvel emailed me today to say that the LATimes review includes fifteen poems, one of which is my “umpire/BlackBerry” senryu. The print edition had the headline “Three Lines and You’re Out.”
I only read it for the poetry: Speaking of national pastimes, the Playboy weblog also featured Baseball Haiku in a posting titled “Poetry in motion” (April 2, 2007). Rocky Rakovic says the anthology is “a far cry from Casey at the Bat.” Rocky was kind enough to include my “umpire/BlackBerry ump” senryu among the three poems he chose to highlight.
afterwords (May 25, 2008): The Poet’s Corner in today’s Washington Post Book Review section features a column by Mary Karr about the Baseball Haiku book. With examples, Karr says “single-image poems capture moments from my own baseball-centered childhood.” She concludes: “Such feeling in such a small space. These haiku prove that in a secular culture, the stadium — from little league through the majors — may be the closest many Americans get to a house of worship.”
- update (July 7, 2008): A bit late, I just discovered the thoughtful review by Janice Harayad’s One-Minute Book Review of Baseball Haiku, with interesting comments (October 29, 2007).