Winning isn’t everything: it’s anything. Winning is whatever you want it to be, and that’s what makes it so good. You want it to be one of those post-game gumball-eyed ice cream bars with the gauzy melting heads shaped like the cartoon turtles? Be my guest. It won’t be me suckling Michelangelo’s ugly mug. My night’s only trophies will be enjoyed much later tonight, at the quarry, in my car: the remainder of a day-old roach and some graph paper […]
Poetry in Motion: Departing Jeter and Letterman to Swap Roles in 2015
MANHATTAN – Anyone who’s recently settled into a new home will tell you that even moving from one borough to another can be daunting. So don’t be surprised if two of New York’s most beloved public figures soon ask for help lugging boxes. Thursday morning brought official word from the CBS-MLB conglomerate Base Humor Ltd: New York Yankees veteran Derek Jeter and retiring late night talk show icon David Letterman will trade jobs shortly. Mr. Letterman will take over as […]
Poetry in Motion: A Steroid Diary
Sunday, February 17th I’m looking for Human Growth. Mackendrick says not to call it that. Call it “vitamins” he says. Don’t even write the word down, he says. “Are you writing my name?” he says. “Jesus Christ, stop writing down everything I’m saying.” Call it a birthday present from my Swiss cousin. Call it a live ferret. Anything but what it is, even though everyone uses them now. Nerds with allergies even. Ha ha ha.
Poetry in Motion: Can You Learn to Run Faster by Reading Books?
In writing about the art of sport, and the potential poetics of these games, there is a temptation to chase secret mechanics in the language of memoirs, biographies, histories, and the like. I’m always looking for a captivating, well-written book that will offer insights not merely into the experiences of athletes – teamwork, practice, composure – but the hard data of the game. How to Throw a Curveball, How to Rebound, How to Render an Opponent Unconscious. This pursuit is […]
Poetry in Motion: Jim Bouton, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the Athletics of Self-Awareness
This is an essay about Ball Four, a tell-all memoir of Major and Minor League Baseball published in 1970 by author/major league knuckleballer Jim Bouton. More specifically it is about why pitchers are often enigmatic. Most specifically of all it is about Bouton’s pained desire – common among achievers – to be perfect by his own standards when he was already excellent by those of the universe at large. But first, let’s go crazy.
Bites: Paperbacks, N+1 Editor Scores Big, Ai Poems, Lipsytemania, Baseball Secrets, and More
“How the Paperback Novel Changed Literature” (Thanks Boing Boing) Taking a road trip with David Foster Wallace. N+1 editor scores big. 5 poems by the late Ai. All the Lipsyte you can handle. Everybody is happy about the forthcoming Band of Horses album. The best baseball books. All the dirty little things about baseball players you didn’t know as a kid.
Bites: Woody Allen Drawn, A New Case for American Lit, NYRB on Herta Müller, SXSW, and more
An abstract from Dread and Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip, a new book to be published next month, is available at the Guardian. Arcade Fire’s a lucky band. Spike Jonze was “thinking of them almost every step of the way” in making his famous film. Rather than insular, is American Literature “borderless”? From the NYRB, a podcast on Herta Müller, the 2009 Nobel laureate in literature. Vol. 1 touched on Müller and her recent win last week. “Is there […]