It’s football season. Time to toss the ball around in the backyard, tailgate, and head down to the big game. Whether you're a high school, college, or an NFL fan, these poems will help you get ready for the season.
First Down: School Days
Poems about street games, high school hijinks, and poets among players.
“Wide Receiver” by Mark Halliday
“After School, Street Football, Eighth Grade” by Dennis Cooper
friends and I would watch them
from my porch, books of poems
lost in our laps
“Olives” by Donald Hall
intoning inscrutable stanzas
as halfbacks and tackles
made out, Friday nights after football
“Evening Practice” by D. Nurkse
The ball flew up toward day
and landed in night.
Second Down: Small Town, Big Game
The whole town heads down to the stadium to sit beneath the Friday night lights.
“Neighbors in October” by David Baker
Down the block we bend with the season:
shoes to polish for a big game,
storm windows to batten or patch.
“Why I Might Go to the Next Football Game” by Denis Johnson
that i would make a fine football-playing
poet, but now i know
“Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio” by James Wright
Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.
The way, say, even sepia photgraphs of old-time
All Americans could be pirates' gold
Third Down: Coaches and Players
Poems of short-lived stars, living legends, and a quarterback’s surreal stream of consciousness.
“Football” by Louis Jenkins
One has certain responsibilities,
one has to make choices. This isn’t right and I'm not going
to throw it.
“football dreams” by Jacqueline Woodson
No one was faster
than my father on the football field.
“Watching Football on TV” by Howard Nemerov
They have Immortals in a Hall of Fame,
They have the stories of the tribe, the plays
And instant replays many times replayed.
“Prison Chaplain” by Timothy Murphy
our high school quarterback become a clerk—
in the high sense.
“Dew” by David Musgrave
Half their lives are spent in clouds
of condensation or the cold heat
“The Ditch” by Michael Ryan
Any minute—no guessing what might trigger it—
he could be butting your face mask and barking up your nostrils
“A Mad Fight Song for William S. Carpenter, 1966” by James Wright
When I woke, I found myself crying out
Latin conjugations, and the new snow falling
At the edge of a green field.
ARTICLES & BLOG POSTS
Poetry and football come together in three surprising ways.
New Arkansas Razorback linebacker Vin Ascolese pens a poem called “The Razorback” for his team.
Over at Culture Bully, Judy Mills muses and amuses on an all-poetry fantasy football team.
Ferlinghetti’s renewed love for the San Francisco 49ers.