Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Poets and pitches

Another league    Not everything goes as planned. Too late for a meeting about the history of nearby Afro-American cemeteries, I headed for Greensboro’s Restore (the Habitat for Humanity market). There I hoped to find components for a new project, affordable pieces I could puzzle together. Or discard.

In the darkness on High Point Road, I drove past Restore. Its light were off; the store was closed. With a shrug, I headed to Earth Fare for vittles, a fun place to be.

What I hadn’t expected to find jumped me. Play It Again, Sam! was open next door to the grocery. Almost jubilant, I hurried to their used glove section. Because this Sunday, weather permitting, will be the first practice for my softball team, I needed to get a glove I had to have to play.

They had dozens. Only one, old and pliable black leather with red ribbing, fit. Unlike the almost new $75 glove, the one I bought was a steal at $7.98. I felt like a kid ready for Little League tryouts.

Jubilant, I drove home with bags full of essentials.

Messages were waiting for me there. One from my younger daughter, a clarification and a correction I needed to make. I responded with hugs and a promise to do better.

That said, I opened a message from Tim on Long Island about an LTV event he wanted to schedule for Poetry Month. Poets were needed; but the show was local. I suspected that my drawl would have disqualified me even if I applied using my partner’s New York address.

Still, I was glad to read about the planning of an event that would compliment those of the American Academy of Poets [please see Poets.org]. There would be lots to do and listen to even if I wouldn’t be able to read.

That was important to me, especially now as I design a course I’m to teach this summer at the Community College. Although it’s called English 217, I’ll be teaching about how to write poetry. Only five weeks long, my course will be a challenge to create in many ways.

I’d been asked to name a book for my class. Until I’d received Tim’s message, I wasn’t sure what it would be. For a five week course, I knew any book I assigned would have to be short and insightful, concise and relevant---a lot to ask of any text.

Thanks to Tim sent, I found it. On the American Academy’s site was this announcement:

Inspired by Letters to a Young Poet, the collection of Rainer Maria Rilke's written exchange with an aspiring poet, this April, we are inviting students to engage with poetry by handwriting letters to the acclaimed poets who serve on the Academy's Board of Chancellors.

Rilke’s book, ten letters long, offers more to any fledgling poet than almost any other I had considered. Because I regard any poet at any age (or stage) to be fledgling, I rejoiced at the thought of using Letters To A Young Poet.

An end had come to another good day. I slipped into my new glove, pounded my softball into it, and tried to picture myself trotting on to the field for Sunday’s first practice.

Although my team is part of a 65 and older league, I felt like a kid ready for vie for a spot on the first team roster. Rilke might have sensed a poem in the making were he to see me when I approach the pitcher’s mound.

                                         B.Koplen  2/21/13

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