The poem Basketball: A Retrospective, by Stephen Dunn, is a fantastic poem for a reader to go in depth with because it allows the reader to see what the basketball player is doing. The poem is short but it really gets the point across, while it is describing the athletic abilities of the player. Stephen Dunn does a great job of pulling the reader in and allowing it to make a picture of what the player is doing. In the poem there is a really good example of personification. “My ethics were, and good pair of hands,” (lines 1-2) this is relating the great ethics of the player to his hands because his hands are so valuable. If the reader were to read this Michael Jordan would come to mind. Michael Jordan’s hands were so important to his game which in the first two lines of the poem it explains that. If the reader would dig deep and read between the lines of the first verse, many inspirational things can be taken away from it. “A good move, when things were difficult,” (lines 3-4) this line is great at describing the player being able to perform at its best, even when things were difficult.
Throughout the poem Stephen Dunn uses a lot of imagery to describe what is going on. In the second verse of the poem it goes more in depth of describing how the player is graceful in the air. This is why the reader would believe more and more that the poem was based on the game of Michael Jordan. “An exceptional man could change direction,” (lines 5-6) this line is great at showing the talent of the exceptional player, which would keep the reader intact with the meaning of the poem. These lines and verses are great at putting a picture in the readers head but also taking them through the play as it develops. Finally, Stephen Dunn finishes the poem by adding a great line of imagery. “In the air, could thread a needle,” (lines 7-8) the reader can just imagine what the player is doing just by one line, which is great because the whole poem allows the reader to do that. Basketball: A Retrospective, by Stephen Dunn is a great poem for athletes to read because of the connections the reader can make to it, and how great it is at putting a picture in the readers head.
Dunn, Stephen. American Sports Poems. New York 10016, 1996. Web.