Today kicks off national poetry month.
Even if you’re a business writer like me, consider subscribing for just this month to the Borzoi Reader Poem-a-Day newsletter, this year dedicated to the work of John Updike (1932-2009). Because even tech writers need some creative inspiration.
I like poems that touch on the very tangible, day-to-day realities of life. Here’s an excerpt from Updike’s “Baseball,” from Endpoint, his final book, published yesterday by Random House/Knopf Doubleday:
It looks easy from a distance,
easy and lazy, even,
until you stand up to the plate
and see the fastball sailing inside,
an inch from your chin,
or circle in the outfield
straining to get a bead
on a small black dot
a city block or more high,
a dark star that could fall
on your head like a leaden meteor.
Describing a baseball as being a “city block or more high” above your head . . . Updike is tying an abstract distance to a concrete measurement that you can easily visualize. A technique like that can bring even the most dry business writing to life.
The choice should be clear once you remove other people’s names from the sentence. It