Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders
H. R. StonebackPraise for Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders:
"H. R. Stoneback's newest collection, Why Athletes Prefer Cheerleaders, is a singular experience. Every one of these poems epitomizes Pound's old modernist maxim--that poetry should be at least as well written as prose.
Drawn together from over fifty years of writing, the book is not only a great gathering of poems about sport; it's a deep sampling of Stoneback's voice. Basketball, baseball, zellball, swimming, diving, walking, fishing, boules--sure, you will find all these sports (and more) invoked. But there's something else going on here too:
Down the great winds at work over the roofs of the land
Down the singing maze of the horror of living
Down the wringing wrists of the honor of living
Down the winding abyss... ("Fast Break")These are poems rapt by the mysteries of courtside chants and yellowing scorecards, the glories of place and travel. From "In Those Same Sad Old Churches in Camden" and "Marrowbone Creek: Sunday Noon" (written in the early 1960s) to the strange twenty-first-century country of Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti, you will hear one man's voice telling the holy and broken story of what it has meant to live in the body, in place, in time. There is nothing like it."
--Alex Shakespeare, poet and scholar, Skidmore College
"Stoneback’s sport poems are earth poems, land art, tracing the way flesh moves in the world, the way the soul makes a fast break down court, across the map and over the abyss into moments of grace and glory."
--Matthew Nickel, poet and scholar, author of Hemingway’s Dark Night, Misericordia University
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