David Berman’s Actual Air isn’t the reason I started writing poems — it was to impress fine ladies that I did that. Nor was it the first book to change my entire notion of what poems could be — some combination of Charles Simic’s The World Doesn’t End and Kenneth Koch’s entire oeuvre did that.
Indeed, I was rather skeptical of Berman’s book when I first saw it — on account of he was a musician, is why, and musicians are famously unashamed of everything, whereas writing good poems requires a great deal of shame. Endless shame, really.
In the interest of making a rather short story even shorter, what happened is, is I did eventually read and did very much liked David Berman’s first and only book. For a number of reasons, certainly, is why I enjoyed it — but a relevant one to this blog are the numerous references to baseball and/or baseball things.
References like these three which follow. (Note: links are available to the first two poems. I was unable to find the Cantos online, however.)
Announcement: Today we will discuss the energy in a wing
and something about first basemen.
From The Charm of 5:30:
I am remembering how my friend Chip showed up
with a catcher’s mask hanging from his belt and how I said
great to see you, sit down, have a beer, how are you,
and how he turned to me with the sunset reflecting off his contacts
and said, wonderful, how are you.
From from Cantos for James Michener: Part I
Still disturbed by the size of softballs.