meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: Dear Basketball

What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Dear Basketball

Dear Basketball, that won Kobe Bryant an Oscar, is a touching and poignant personal meditation of gratitude to a sport that meant so much to him. Any athlete who has embarked on the journey from childhood athlete to adult professional athlete couldn't help but be touched by Kobe's reflections. I cheered when he won. Together with the art, it was splendid.

Later, however, I worried that Kobe's writing is referred to as a poem. I've been teaching poetry, writing poetry and reading poetry for a long time. Dear Basketball seemed to me to fall short of my understanding of poetry. It lacked simile or metaphor or imagery. In the end, as touching as it was, it didn't provide an insight into something of the world, never understood before, which is, for me, one of the most important results of a good poem.

I fussed in my head over this. You have to understand I've been a poet now far longer than I ever was a basketball player, and longer than I was an English teacher. I take poetry as seriously as Steph Curry takes his jump-shot. When I read Hallmark cards, I gag. Most of the poetry I find on poetry websites, and hear at slams or open mics is simply a bunch of feelings, written vertically that have been expressed before to the point of cliche -  sentimental, overly emotional, and boring.

However, Dear Basketball, is not emotionally boring or sentimental. It is heartfelt. It is warmly understated. It made me feel good. Which still leaves me wondering if it is a poem. I'll have to fuss over this some more. In the meantime, instead of a poem to end my blog as I usually do, here are a number of definitions of poetry by some of the great poets of our time. You make up your own mind
about Dear Basketball.

"One demands two things of a poem. Firstly, it must be a well-made verbal object that does honor to the language in which it is written. Secondly, it must say something significant about a reality common to all, but perceived from a unique perspective. What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he [she] said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves."
                                                                 W.H. Auden

"If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."

                                                                Emily Dickinson 

"Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful."

                                                                 Rita Dove

No comments: