Among numerous other benefits, participation in sports can
promote physical strength and mental alertness,
offer experiences in socialization and communication skills,
encourage a sense of team (community) spirit, and
foster greater self-confidence and healthy self-esteem.
Ah—I know you guessed this was coming, sports can also offer material for our poems.
1. Think about a sport that you enjoy:
- a sport that you’ve played,
- a sport that you enjoy watching (in person or on TV),
- a sport that a family member, spouse, partner, or friend has played,
- a sport that your children or grandchildren play,
- a sport you’d like to play.
2. Choose a sport and make that the initial subject of your poem.
3. Now, write a poem in which you use the sport you chose to convey a deeper message (remember that really good poems have more than one subject—the obvious subject and other unstated subjects).
4. Perhaps you’ll use a particular sport as an extended metaphor, or use sports imagery and vocabulary to give your poem a sports “base.”
5. Think beyond the obvious subject of your poem to discover what your poem might really be about.
6. An alternative might be to write an ode to a particular sport or sportsperson or, if you really don’t care for sports at all, write about why you don’t like sports (or a particular sport).
7. And here’s a fun option: since American baseball icon Yogi Berra passed away last week, many sites have featured what are known as Yogi-isms. These pithy witticisms often take the form of obvious tautologies or paradoxical contradictions but, more often than not, they hold fundamentally meaningful messages that offered as much wisdom as humor. Read the following Yogi-isms and choose one to incorporate into your poem in some way.
- When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
- You can observe a lot by just watching.
- It ain’t over till it’s over.
- It’s like déjà vu all over again.
- No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.
- A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
- You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.
- I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four.
- Never answer an anonymous letter.
- The future ain’t what it used to be.
- It gets late early out here.
- Pair up in threes.
- It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much.
- I never said most of the things I said.
- If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer.
- If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.
1. Avoid over use of adjectives.
2. Get rid of prepositions wherever you can.
3. Try to work your poem into stanzas and compare stanzaic and stichic forms to determine which is best for your poem.
4. As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Make sure you bring your poem to closure in with a home run, knockout punch, touchdown, or goal.
“A Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball” by Christopher Merrill
“Baseball” by Gail Mazur
“Analysis of Baseball” by May Swenson