The Basketball Poets
31 May, 2009
I first heard about the Basketball Poets in 2003, when I received a letter from a teacher in North Carolina. She had recently formed an elementary school activity, Basketball Poets, combining, yes, basketball and poetry. That combination and the teacher's enthusiasm for her students and for Love That Dog intrigued me. Her school was near where my sister lives, so I planned a visit.
Well! That teacher, Marty Mentzer, and her students blew me right out of the water! They performed for me (instead of my being expected to perform for them): a rousing rendition of Blake's "Tiger, Tiger," complete with basketballs bouncing on accented syllables. They then read their own poems written in the style of Jack, in Love That Dog, and afterwards, they all shot hoops. It was all such a perfect, crazy, wonderful thing to witness.
Each year I send Marty books for her new B-ball Poets, and each year I visit them and they entertain me. Each year their group performs elsewhere in the community. I've heard that other schools have set up their own Basketball Poets, too. Amazing and wonderful! Crazy and perfect!