Walk-Up Music


Also available as an eBook

SKU: 9781771690263 Categories: ,


Walk-Up Music
by Paul Watsky

Watsky does the work of 10 poets in this excellent, slim collection. An avid baseball fan, Watsky writes gorgeously of his passion for America’s pastime. To borrow a term from the sport: he’s a utility player. Watsky handles multiple positions with equal dexterity and skill. In fact, there’s not much he can’t do. Verse about Jungian archetypes? He’s got it: “Yes!! shouts Shadow, straight to hell! / Be nice, admonishes Persona. / Partially disrobed, Anima at the mirror peekaboos her hair / first across one breast then the other.” (Watsky is a trained clinical psychologist.) Verse about the Japanese poet Santoka? That’s here too: “Sake / his favorite koan got him / into trouble and then got / him out before the bent / nail of his personality / was pounded / flat.” How about a poem, out by out, of San Francisco Giant Matt Cain’s perfect game? “June 13, 2012, a Wednesday night against / the Astros, we’re down for one of Matt’s trade- / mark gems, especially Houston being nearly / impotent on the road—not that we’re entitled / to point fingers.” And it’s all good. Though he can ably write in a variety of forms, Watsky’s favorite weapon is a sort of prose poem divided cunningly into sharp, un-rhyming couplets. One particularly effective example is “Squaw Valley Pan Shot”: “white pine that nips / the heels of retreating / glaciers a mere ten / millennia ago this summer. God / knows, my timing / can be rotten but I haven’t bought any / ski areas lately.” In this form, the line breaks do the work; “God” is left out on a limb, separated from the knowing he will eventually do. Thus does an approachable meditation on a winter landscape become subtle, incisive theology. As if Watsky didn’t already have enough on his plate. Refreshing poetry that has a little something for everybody. —Kirkus Review

There’s an edgy discernment in these poems, built on rage, impatience, and a deep generosity towards brokenness. “Broken” is where a boy’s sentience began, and the means by which powerful poetry has evolved from the man. Walk-up music is a snippet of song that identifies a batter as he approaches the box. In this collection baseball becomes a trope for a form of life in which failing two-thirds of your at-bats is a great performance. As so often in the Majors, in Watsky’s poems we encounter cycles of regression, aggression, redemption, and renewal, knit together by an unshakeable faith in the (human) team. From his self-creation tale—“You Musta Loved It as a Kid”—to the poem that hinges the book—“The Absurd: An Invocation”—this poet throws heat: unhittable riffs of lyric vernacular that strike you out watching. And make you want more. So many poems in Walk-Up Music stop me in my tracks, as if I’d just come upon fresh chalk marks in the shape of a man at an accident scene. But the man walked away: scathed, extraordinary, a poet. —Dawn McGuire, M.Div., M.D., author of The Aphasia Cafe

Paul Watsky writes with vigor and wit. Carrying the dust of experience on their boots, his poems ring, all the more, with conviction. —Elizabeth Chapman, author of Light Thickens

A native of New York City, Paul Watsky moved to California during the late 1960’s, where, after teaching for five years in the English Department of San Francisco State University, he trained as a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst. Paul’s first book of poetry, Telling the Difference was published by il piccolo editions in 2010. His haiku, longer poems, and translations have appeared widely in periodicals and anthologies, including Modern Haiku, A New Resonance: Emerging Voices in English Language Haiku, Rattle, Interim, Smartish Pace, Asheville Poetry Review, and The Carolina Quarterly. He is cotranslator of Santoka (Tokyo, PIE Books, 2006), and poetry editor of Jung Journal:Culture and Psyche.

Title: Walk-Up Music
Author: Paul Watsky
Paperback: 80 pages
Condition: New
Edition: First
Publisher: il piccolo editions (April 21, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1771690267
ISBN-13: 978-1771690263

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs


You may also like…