Poem Of The Week: Knuckleball

This week’s poem is by Glenn Stout. Stout has been the editor of the Best American Sports Writing series since its inception, but he describes himself as “an old poet who found himself writing sports by accident.” Stout is also a true believer in both baseball and poetry — as true as anyone I’ve ever spoken to. He spent nine consecutive Opening Days parked outside of Fenway Park, reciting poetry through a megaphone and last night we chatted by phone about those poems and other topics. The interview will be up later this week. But for now, read Knuckleball below, and if you like it, click this link for some more of Mr. Stout’s baseball poetry.

I tumble on, barely spinning

each stitch and seam pronounced

afloat and affected by the turbulent air

pushed first this way, then that way

asymmetrical by degrees

going forward from some release

out of hand and out of control

hard to meet squarely

difficult to grasp, easy to drop or let pass

cut loose from one sure grip

to drift and list on homeward

revealing utter confidence

that one still waits, arms out, on knees

a last sharp break to catch and squeeze

between two hands, and then to hold

the pitch at last received.

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