Ben Henderson’s new wobble was supposed to be the secret weapon he needed to save his career. But while his new baseball pitch ultimately missed the mark, his “revolutionary musket” still fired the first shot heard ’round the jazz world — leaving its mark as the first recorded use of the word “jazz”.
The year was 1912. Henderson was a pitcher for the Portland Beavers. According to Ben Zimmer, the language columnist for The Boston Globe, Henderson announced “that he had a special pitch, a curve ball called ‘the jazz ball’ that he was going to use, and he said it would completely flummox the batters because it wobbles so much you simply can’t do anything with it.”
While playing June Jazz at Tweetspeak last month, Maureen Doallas managed to hit one out of the park. You can catch the audio of her reading the poem in Thursday’s Top 10 Poetic Picks.
But, really, everyone nailed down a good “jazz ball”, even shattering some windows in the process because we liked the sound of breaking glass. Now we’re ready to play with those shards.
Of course, whenever we try something new by shattering the glass of our old expectations, we may find ourselves staring at a mess of questions after the last inning. “Am I any good?” “Do I have anything worthwhile, in this heap of shards, with which I can build anything beautiful?”
Shh. Get down on your hands and knees. Look at the pieces. Hold them up to the sun. Until the light speaks and guides your hand.
This month, The Cento (a kind of mosaic poem) is our theme at Every Day Poems.
Poetry invites us to reflect and focus on the beauty of fragments. We discover new patterns and artistry as we begin to sort through and rearrange those images and ideas.
Here’s how July Mosaics works …
If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to Every Day Poems.
1. On Mondays, the Every Day Poem in your inbox becomes a pile of raw material. Sort through the words and find a few gems. Rearrange as many as you want into a new found poem. You’re free to mix in your own words.
2. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #tsmosaics hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.
3. Or leave your found poem here in the comment box.
We’ll read your tweets and share some of your weekly play each week. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a winning poem and ask the playful poet to record his or her poem to be featured in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.
Here’s today’s Every Day Poem. Now go cool-arrange.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In July we’re exploring the theme The Cento.