23 September 2013

Hit by Pitch

Molly Lawless, Hit by Pitch.  Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012.

This graphic novelization tracks the weirdly parallel lives of Ray Chapman and Carl Mays from their childhoods in Kentucky, thought the fatal collision of Mays' pitch with Chapman's head, and--for Mays, at least, beyond.  The well-researched story is told though vignettes about the main characters, from varying perspectives, and illustrated with figures reminiscent of Eward Gory.  While the story is a bit dark, telling as it does of the only on-field death during a Major League baseball game, it isn't gruesome or violent, and is an important piece of baseball history, presented in a way that is appropriate and enjoyable for anyone eight or older.

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02 September 2013

Billy Collins, Aimless Love.  NY: Random House, 2013.

it is the poet's duty
to fall in love
at least once
every day

I wrote that in 1989, which feels like another lifetime.  I have needed this book for a very long time, because I had forgotten how to love aimlessly--"No lust, no slam of the door".

Like Donald Hall, Collins shows us the beauty of the mundane.  These carefully crafted verses don't feel like "poetry", which is the highest complement I can give them.  I think I am going to love this book, the way I love the first drag on a cigarette or a well-spun curve-ball, and come back to it again and again.