Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Float Like a Rebounder, Rhyme like Ali

It's hard not to be encouraged by something like this: The Washington Wizards basketball team is sponsoring an afternoon of poetry and basketball. For $45, you get a 1-hour poetry workshop, tickets to the basketball game a reading by player & poet Etan Thomas, a copy of Thomas's book More Than An Athlete from Moore Black Press and a chance to meet Thomas and have him sign the book.

Thomas has been fitting a book tour into his NBA schedule for the last two months, and read some of his poetry on a kids' show called NBA Jam (NBC). You can like or dislike the work itself (I think he's got some talent, but check out the scrolling text and audio tracks of his stuff at the links above and decide for yourself), but I don't think you can't deny the value of having him present himself as a poet, and introduce names like Amiri Baraka and Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez and Edward Hirsch through his bio to a young audience that might never have heard those names before.

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