Poetry and the world of sports rarely collide, but Michael Sweeney brings them together anyway. "In Memory of the Fast Break" is his award winning collection of poetry for readers who are seeking a new and unique book of poetry. A breath of fresh air in the world poetry grants "In the Memory of Fast Break" a top recommendation. "When Giants Walked the Earth": They stood out even through the static, rabbit ears bent/on the old Zenith, plastic whipped from the window panes//staple by staple: arthritic Russell barely twitching his beard/toward the inbounds pass, Reggie Harding leaning with him//just as Russell soars the other ways, catching the lob/two feet above the rim & jamming it - the old dummy play!
All of the poems in Michael Sweeney's In Memory of the Fast Break are full of energy, and all are delivered in an intelligent, informed voice. As the title suggests, the process of memory drives these poems, and the memory bank includes more than basketball moves. There are references to Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers and The Band's house, Big Pink. There are several references to Allen Ginsberg. There are more obscure references to basketball heroes like Bill Russell and Earl the Pearl Monroe. I say "more obscure" because I've only recently become a fan of live professional basketball. I had to look up the "fast break" in the book's title. I learned that it is an offensive move, effective (and exciting to watch) when well executed. I'm pretty sure that Sweeney is saying that we don't see enough of such moves these days, that the good stuff from the past deserves to be remembered. He helps us remember with his wide-ranging knowledge and masterful presentation.