For Immediate Release

Words from John Wooden in Poetry

UCLA Basketball Coach Made Poetry Part of Practice
June 8th, 2010

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is pleased to share John Wooden’s reflections on poetry and basketball in the July/August issue of Poetry magazine. As a contributor to Poetry, Wooden joins the varied ranks of non-poets—including baseball player Fernando Perez, singer Neko Case, actor Alfred Molina, and Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens—who have recently written for the magazine about the place of poetry in their lives.

Commonly regarded as the greatest coach in college basketball history, John Wooden, who died Friday at the age of 99, was the head coach of the UCLA Bruins.

Wooden read and recited poetry as an everyday activity. He regularly recited choice lines to his players at practice, selecting specific rhymes or maxims to serve as advice or inspiration.

“Attitude,” John Wooden wrote, “is as important as knowing how to shoot a jump shot properly. Poetry, in all its forms, was an efficient tool for this.”

Created with the belief that not only should poetry have a wider audience, but the range of people writing about poetry should be diverse, this issue of Poetry’s occasional special feature “The View from Here” features John Wooden’s short essay alongside contributions from cartoonist Lynda Barry and human rights activist and leader Etienne Ndayishimiye, among others. Though they come to poetry from diverse personal and professional backgrounds, each contributor makes poetry a habit—and values it for bringing pleasure and meaning to the everyday.

Poetry’s July/August issue also includes new poems by Elizabeth Arnold, Stephen Edgar, Robert P. Baird, Anne Stevenson, Sandra Simonds, Arthur Vogelsang, Wilmer Mills, Attilio Bertolucci, Anthony Madrid, Peter Campion, and Connie Voisine; as well as prose and criticism by Ange Mlinko, Michael Dirda, and Jason Guriel; and a libretto by Robert Pinsky.

John Wooden’s piece, “The Great Scorer,” is available online at

Advance copies of the July/August issue of Poetry magazine can be obtained by visiting


About Poetry
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

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