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This week at The Paris Review, we’re preparing for our summer softball season and thinking about baseball and the great outdoors. Read Donald Hall’s Art of Poetry interview, as well as Tony Sanders’s poem “The Warning Track” and Kelli Jo Ford’s short story “Hybrid Vigor.”
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Donald Hall, The Art of Poetry No. 43
Issue no. 120 (Fall 1991)
I was bearded and weighed about two hundred fifty pounds when I tried out for second base with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Willie Randolph and Rennie Stennett both beat me out. (I was cut for not being able to bend over, which wasn’t fair; Richie Hebner made the team at third base and he couldn’t bend over either.) The players had nicknames for me, like Abraham and Poet, and they treated me like a mascot. When I took batting practice, the whole team stopped whatever it was doing to watch—the comedy act of the decade. The players looked at me as some sort of respite from their ordinary chores; they were curious, and they were kind enough as they teased me. Mostly, athletes are quick-witted and funny, with maybe a ten-second attention span.