"Half of my poet friends," confides Donald Hall, one of America's best poets and essayists, "think I am insane to waste my time writing about sports and to loiter in the company of professional athletes. The other half would murder to take my place." Either way, aficionados--both of games and words--should simply be thankful.
Hall's lyrical voice, graceful craft, and spiritual bravado are evident throughout from the opening title essay--a first-person reminiscence of a spring-training sojourn with the Pirates--to a meditation on football that serves as the volume's final gun. In between, he offers lovely, finely tuned odes to Fenway Park, Old Timers' games, Ping-Pong, and former Celtic forward Kevin McHale. From a reader's perspective, "Proseball," a grand tour of baseball literature, is particularly poignant; as Hall goes down his line-up, your heart should break when you realize just how much good writing--from Roger Angell, Thomas Boswell, and Red Smith, for starters--is currently, and tragically, out of print. --Jeff Silverman
"There will always be golden boys playing in games that have diamonds in them, and those boys will always get old, and life will change, but there's something gently beautiful in that process. Baseball is one metaphor for the changing of seasons, and Hall--as poet and seer here--raises Sport to Art." --Los Angeles Times
"Nobody who like to . . . 'enter the intense, artificial, pastoral universe of the game' will fail to be charmed by Hall’s musings." --Newsweek