Tag Archives: Tim Donnelly

Baseball Poetry

“Brazen” — Homage to Vin Scully’s Final Dodger Stadium Broadcast

Sunday, September 25, 2016

On the Occasion of Vin Scully’s Final Dodger Stadium Broadcast

Today opened with some very sad news for all baseball fans. Jose Fernandez, one of the most brilliant and joyful young pitchers in the game, died in a boating accident Clint Hurdle, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, spoke of how inspiring Jose Fernandez was as a player and of how he will be missed by the entire game.


Since today will mark the last broadcast from Dodger Stadium by Vin Scully, I wanted to pay tribute to him by reprinting in my blog a poem I wrote a quarter century ago, and which poet and editor Lee Rossi published in his magazine, Tsunami. I sent a copy of it to Vin Scully, and he responded with a handwritten note that I treasure as a highlight of my correspondence.

for Vin Scully

“He’s taking a huge lead off second base.
There’s no other word for it but brazen –
that’s a great word, brazen – whatever
happened to brazen?” A great verb, too.
Brazen it out, the desire a veteran squeezes,
when his best pitches sprawl and he must depend
on location and luck. July’s road trip,
twelve games in ten days, interinanimates
August’s eight-game winning streak. I remember
Scully, in the fermenting middle of an inning,
suddenly talking about “The Brothers Karamazov,”
and not just a reference either. A couple
of sentences. It was very endearing,
as though Scully were saying to the few
who’d read it – I know you’re listening
because my voice comforts you, a small boy
crouching under bedcovers, a transistor radio
simmering next to your ear, the lesson
of anonymity and surprise: September, 1964,
Scully announces the Cardinals’ pinch hitter,
a kid called up from the minors two days before,
he hits a three-run homer and the Cardinals win
and no one hears from the kid again.
Sometimes I want a game to last all night.
I’m tempted to turn the radio off in the seventh
or eighth inning so I can wake and pick up
the paper, not knowing who came from behind
and who let another’s heroism spoil
in June’s truculent humidity, the drought of July
spinning into the resilience of August,
the chilly rains of April and September.
Oh extra innings and the ground rule double!
“He’s taking a huge lead off second base.” –
and I scramble back and skip out again,
taunting the catcher and shortstop of fate
and the future, knowing there’s only a few seasons
left to spit and slide, but I won’t quit,
aging as I am in a narrow bullpen,
fingering the red seams for that new pitch
that will redeem my summers in Salinas,
Butte and Albuquerque, the slow curve
that will bring me the brazen, blazin’ glory
I’ve dreamed of each night before sleep
whacks my next pitch deep to center field.

This issue of Tsunami also contained writing by Amy Uyematsu (an exceptionally fine poem entitled “The Woman Gaugin Chooses to Paint”); Richard Garcia (“Chickens Everywhere”); Tim Donnelly; Mary Armstrong; Lyn Lifshin; Charles Webb; and B.Z. Niditch. Leland Hickman, who had died on May 12, 1991, was the featured poet. Two of his poems, “Hay River” and “Blackwillow Daybreak,” were reprinted as the centerpiece of the issue.

It should be noted that I am posting this after the Dodgers came back from a 3-2 score in favor of the Colorado Rockies. With two outs in the ninth inning, Corey Seager summoned his inner Kirk Gibson as a way to honor Vin Scully and hit a home run to tie the score. Then, an inning later, Charlie Culberson hit his first home run of the entire 2016 season to win the game and clinch the division title for the Dodgers.

Post-Script added on October 2, 2016

Here is a link to Vin Scully’s tribute to his fans and his farewell address from San Francisco.


Painting and Sculpture Poetry

Maw Shein Win — Reading in Los Angeles at Jason Vass Gallery

Maw Shein Win, one of the poets included Cross-Strokes: Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco, will be reading at the Jason Vass Gallery in DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles) on Saturday, February 20, in conjunction with an exhibit of paintings by Mark Dutcher. Win has written a series of poems based on Dutcher’s Time Machine, a collection of ten paintings that trace the aftereffects of an epiphanic encounter in 1983 with a painting by Susan Rothenberg at LACMA. In addition to the poems responding to Dutcher’s paintings, Win will also read from a manuscript-in-progress entitled “Score.” Artist and poet Eve Wood will also read a poem written to accompany another painting by Dutcher entitled “The Poet and the Sailor,” which concerns American poet Hart Crane.

Win and Wood will read at 2:00 p.m.
The gallery is located at 1452E. Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021. It is near the intersection of E. Sixth Street and S. Santa Fe Avenue. The phone number is (213) 446-0788.

Win was also interviewed recently about her writing in:


Upcoming in Northern California is a reading at Pegagus Books in Berkeley to celebrate the publication of Cross-Strokes.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
7:30 p.m.
2349 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704


My thanks to Tim Donnelly and Maw Shein Win for organizing this event, which will also feature Stephen Kessler and my co-editor, Neeli Cherkovski.

Books Poetry

The poetry of Maw Shein Win

Monday, April 28, 2014

In the late 1980s, Phoebe MacAdams and I ran a poetry reading series, at the Gasoline Alley Coffee House on Melrose, that we inherited from its founder, Harry Northup. One of the poets who read in that series was Tim Donnelly, who seemed to disappear sometime in the early 1990s. The attrition rate for aspiring rates has not gone down in my lifetime, and I figured that he had stopped writing. At the Long Beach Poetry Festival in the Fall, 2012, however, I found myself talking with a member of the audience on the sidewalk outside the venue and he introduced himself as Tim Donnelly, and told me that he had been living in San Francisco for a number of years. I asked him to send me some poems for Neeli Cherkovski and me to consider for Cross-Strokes, an anthology-in-progress. In the note that accompanied his poems, Tim said, “There was a time I studied Poetry Loves Poetry like a writing manual.” It was gratifying to learn that a young poet had made use of my anthology, which was published back in 1985, as a means of developing his poetics. Tim furthermore impressed me by showing his generosity towards other poets. In sending along his poems via e-mail, he also cc’d his friend, Maw Shein Win, “an awesome poet who fits the LA/Bay Area profile of your project.” I say that Tim was generous in that he was taking a risk by passing along information to a potential contributor to the anthology. For all he knew, we might end up having to decide between his friend and him for the final spot in the table of contents. I don’t think this fear ever occurred to him. What mattered to Tim, I would guess, is that a poet he admired would have a chance to get her work published.

Maw Win did write, and it turned out that she, too, was a fan of PLP. “Like Tim, “Poetry Loves Poetry” was such an influential collection for me and included many poet friends and teachers while I lived and worked in Southern California. (I studied Creative Writing at CSULB, and Gerry Locklin was one of my instructors.)”

Neeli and I are finally beginning to assemble the final draft of this anthology and in doing so, some good news about one of our contributors has arrived. Maw Shein Win is one of three winners of the Arkadii Dragomoshenko Prize for the Summer Literary Seminars program. In addition to many other publications, you can find very recent examples of her writing on-line at the Zocalo Public Square:

*new poems on cinematic distance:


*the wheelchair:



Her latest poetry chapbook, Ruins of a glittering palace can be accessed on-line, too: