Introduction to Buckeye Poetry and "Ode to the Undrafted"

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture
July 7, 2013 at 4:04p
22 Comments

Fellow Buckeyes -

First, a few words about what I hope to contribute. 

I had the great honor of receiving my Creative Writing MFA from Ohio State.  My three years in Columbus were very special and are a big reason (if not the only reason) that I was able to fulfill my long-term ambition to teach college English.  (I'm hoping for a full-time position somewhere; feel free to help me out!) 

One of the things I love most about Buckeye sports (and football in particular) is that there is a strong literary tradition in the program.  One of my Ohio friends is an attorney whose parents were friends with Woody Hayes and I've heard a million stories about how much Woody loved literature and history and military history and science...just about all fields of learning.  Jim Tressel is also known for relating storytelling and literature to sports.  

I won't be writing too much about the Xs and Os; those are not my forte.  I do hope to train my critical eye on the events of the 2013 football season and to contextualize the grand narrative that will unfold before us.  (Hopefully concluding with a championship.)  Some folks on 11W offer you brilliant technical analysis of what you see on the field.  I hope to use my facility with words to capture what those events mean to the Buckeye faithful.  (Think NFL Films, but with poetry instead of slow-motion running.)

The past few years have been a remarkable time for the Ohio State football program, with as many successes as there were setbacks.  The NFL Draft came and went in April, leaving some very talented Buckeyes off the board.  These young men were key figures during our recent joys and heartbreaks; I thought it fitting to commit my thoughts about them to verse.

In the spirit of Buckeye fellowship, I present...


 

Ode to the Undrafted

Kenneth Nichols


They represent the tumult of a time
That saw the Buckeyes swapping highs and lows.
Fiesta, Rose and Sugar.  Investigation. 
Fond farewell to Tressel.  Six and seven. 
Then an undefeated Urban renovation
That ended in the ‘Shoe instead of Sun Life.

These young men leave Columbus in bittersweet glory
Befitting the era of Buckeye football they shaped:
A perch atop the summit with the need
To prove once more that they deserve the view.

Jake Stoneburner has Rodgers’s safety in his sights
And Goebel joins Laurinaitis on the D.
Zach Boren (a Buckeye brother) attacks the ball
At any position the coaching staff requests.
Will Travis Howard be a shutdown corner in Houston?
Can Nate Williams stop the play action for the Vikes?
Best safety lies in fear of Orhian Johnson
Holding down the Texans’ secondary.
Etienne Sabino will reach his full potential
As linebacker for the New York Football Giants.

To be left undrafted only stokes the fire.
A Buckeye’s heart is forged; it’s not acquired.

 

 

 

Comments

Earle's picture

I think that I shall never spy
A poet able as a Buckeye

Or something like that.

Welcome, congrats on your degree, and I look forward to your contributions (even if I can't figure out what a contextualized narrative is, or why they don't always rhyme--then again, limericks are more my speed).

Italics are for emphasis.

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture

Thank you for your kind words!  And don't worry, that's the beauty of poetry.  You don't need to understand the fancy writing terms I used.  =)  There are a number of reasons why, but poetry has gotten a bit of a bad rap in the past few decades.  It's all about communicating thoughts and ideas and emotions.  You'll find a lot of good poetry that is seemingly focused on a small audience of folks who have degrees, but there's a whole world of verse out there that is accessible to all...and is actually pretty good.
There's nothing wrong at all with limericks.  I'm sure I'll write a few during the season.

Proud alumnus of the Ohio State Creative Writing MFA Program.  Creator of the writing craft site Great Writers Steal.

buckeye1129's picture

Poetry has gotten a bad rap because of BAD RAP.  However, I respect the best of the best rap artists as true poets, and btw your poem was very well written.  Also, don't worry, I understand the difference between true poetry and rap music.
Also, I wrote a very elementary poem (especially when compared to your professional level of artistry displayed above) further down the page.  I was inspired and decided to write a pro-OSU, anti-Michigan piece entitled "Hoke's Broken Ego (He Goes as We Go)"

Michibuck's picture

Thanks, Ken. By the way, LOVE the avatar.

MN Buckeye's picture

Great poem, BPL!  I particularly appreciate the idea of the heart being forged. 

ATXbucknut's picture

Yeah, we need more culture on this site.  Anyone who says 11W ain't a high class joint needs to read this post. Thank you for sharing, BPL.

buckeye1129's picture

Anybody who says 11W isn't high class just needs to check out the amazingly high brow "Pet Peeves" forum that was posted recently. But in all seriousness, this is for sure the most high class content on the site at the moment.

pjtobin's picture

I love it! I am a poor, broke down construction worker. I have never read any poetry that didn't rhyme. I will say I am uneducated in many aspects of life. And highly knowledgable in other areas. Deep in my mind I daydream of being further educated. Or even take my four high school years again just to do it right this time. To take everything in. To download every lesson each teacher could teach. A do over. This time caring to learn. Wanting to remember. I have literally dreamed about it. I threw away any hope of being a intellect. I read these posts from ppl like yourself. And feel a bit intimidated by the proper English, spelling, grammar, and especially vocabulary. Never learning to spell has cursed me my entire adult life. I read constantly. I research many different subjects. Mostly to find solutions. Yet I can't retain simple words, or punctuation. Reading your poem was very inspiring to me. I enjoy to read, as mentioned before. But I love to write. Not one 11w family member has put me down. No corrections, no harmless teasing, no nothing. So I do from time to time unleash a thought or two. Always in fear that I screwed some of it up, and will receive backlash. It has not happened to me yet. I know that that 90% of 11w users have degrees, or are currently obtaining one. So I know you are mostly all further educated with a higher learning, or book smarts. Leaving me a minority in a war of wits. I just wanted to get that out. Of my chest. And in the open. I am thankful for this site. Your poem was awesome. It was a pleasure getting to know you a little. I hope you write more poems for us to enjoy. I hope you don't mind me joining you. Please feel free to correct me if I make mistakes. Having a future English teacher help me out would be divine. 
Ok. Here it goes. 
 
The scarlet river was flowing quickly through the streets all heading towards the shoe. 
My old man and I paced ourselves , as our excitement and anticipation steadily grew. 
Music being played on the stage could be heard as far away as the Lane bridge. 
River watch parking transformed into a prep rally for fans, grads, and current OSU kids. 
Venders with shirts, hats, beads, and more. Set up shop for these fans galore. 
They line the sidewalks one after another. Selling the best gear, that is for sure. 
Woody he stands tall made of bronze. A picture is a must for the three of us. 
Varsity drinkers are walking on aluminum cans. Not much time we must rush. 
Cops on horses allow us to cross. I tell dad that up ahead is a true must see. 
Shoulders to shoulders for four hundred yards. Its Brutus camoed at the ROTC. 
Smiles couldn't be removed from our faces while we posed for the Brutus pic. 
Trying to bob and weave a path at a decent pace seemed like the only way to move. 
We patiently walked south towards our goal. With all these ppl, will there be room? 
Ppl were shouting in a tunnel we seen. One would yell OH, the next scream, IO! 
A man on his phone was talking about a skull session. What is that? We didn't know. 
Now we could now make out the landmark for which the majority here had came. 
Tents were being lowered and things were being packed. Noone would miss the game. 
A  line that had been going made a sudden stop. Fans lined each side of the sidewalk.
The best damn band was playing and marching in. It was so loud you couldn't talk. 
Tickets in hand it seemed we were finally in a line that hopefully lead us through a gate.
Time was ticking away as we snail crawled. Dad was pumped he couldn't wait. 
Scanning of the tickets cleared us to go in. We got drinks and I'm sure a snack. 
Following the signs to our section was easy. The usher also kept us on track. 
We reached our seats and settled in, to the absolute most beautiful view. 
The sell out crowd, the soft looking field of green. The historic horseshoe. 
That was the first game I shared with my friend,my hero, my beloved father. 
Pain of his dying is still real. And just like my buckeyes I will love him forever.
 
Thanks for reading. Sorry it's so long!
 
 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

buckeye1129's picture

Man I have to say that nobody has perfect grammar, but your's is far from the worst I have ever seen.  In fact, it is significantly above average amongst internet users; and that's a fact.  Also, you're poem was pretty good.  Keep it up bro.
Edit: I even just said you're when it should have read your.  Everybody messes up lol and I spend like 4 hours a day reading for school.

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture

PJTOBIN, what a beautiful response.  I'm deeply honored that at least one person has been inspired to be creative because of my post!  It is never too late to learn and it's clear that you can do so.  You have even taken the first step by doing your best to share your experience in writing.  (I LOVE the image of the "scarlet river" that opens the poem; that's what High Street really looks like on game morning, isn't it?) 
I am definitely not giving you homework, but we live in an amazing time.  Whether or not you go to some college near you, it is still quite possible to get some of that "book learning."  It's all about what you are interested in.  I am willing to bet you like movies.  The folks at Red Letter Media make videos that are about literary analysis and all of the "boring" stuff that I learned about in school...but the videos are very interesting and fun.  For example, here is what the RLM peeps said about The Phantom Menace.  I know the narrator seems "weird" at first, but you'll catch on.  The RLM guys spend 70 minutes telling you what was wrong with the movie in terms of storytelling.
In terms of poetry, try reading some Billy Collins.  He is fun and easy to understand in addition to being really "good."
You seem to enjoy writing, so the most important thing is to write! =)  I'm very sorry about your father.  Check out a site like Brevity.  Dinty Moore teaches at Ohio U. and edits this online journal that collects very short pieces of creative nonfiction: personal stories that people write about themselves and their lives.  Perhaps you might enjoy writing more and learning how to better communicate your unique perspective on the world. 
There certainly are jerks out there, but I don't understand people who would pooh-pooh someone else's desire to be creative, especially in a forum such as this.  I did not expect to have people to respond to my poetry with poetry, but I love that folks did.  If it keeps happening, perhaps I'll start a page on my web site to collect Buckeye Poetry like yours and Buckeye1129's and mine.  (With permission, obviously.)

Proud alumnus of the Ohio State Creative Writing MFA Program.  Creator of the writing craft site Great Writers Steal.

pjtobin's picture

Thank you for the links, and your kind words. I would be all in for posting on your web page. I lost my mother at 9 yrs old. Then my step mother at 18 yrs old. So losing my father at 27 yrs old ripped my heart out. The love and passion we shared for the buckeyes is why I am here at 11w daily. I enjoy sharing my memories with those who appreciate it. Welcome to 11w. You're going to love it here. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

Maestro's picture

I got PJTobin's back if he ever needs it.

vacuuming sucks

Poison nuts's picture

PJ, just wanted to say that I really appreciated what you wrote...we share similar circumstances. Thank you.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture

Poison Nuts, I happen to teach a LOT of folks who haven't set foot in a classroom for years...sometimes decades.  They tend to get a lot out of class because they care and because they WANT to learn.  You can certainly do it, too!  =) 
One of the big keys is to maintain an open attitude.  Some people reject poetry and science and "book learning" stuff because they are insecure about not yet understanding it.  They forget that NO ONE is born knowing things, so there's nothing to be ashamed of--aside from not caring or trying.
I talk to a lot of people who aren't YET formally educated past high school, but they are already doing scholarly work without knowing it.  Just look at so many of the posts on 11W.  Here's an example from The Game.  Mr. Peltier is working in the field of statistics, he references literature; he's doing a ton of higher-level thinking.  And so are the people in the comments.  Even if you folks don't recognize it, you are engaged in some very complicated "smart people stuff" when you talk about Buckeye football.  My goal with my occasional poems is also to analyze Buckeye sports, just with a different part of the brain.  (And my unintentional goal was to invite others to join in and create their own poetry!)
It's like the difference between ESPN Radio and NFL Films.  Both agencies tell you what happened in the game, but NFL Films is a little better at making you feel it in your heart.  (Agreed?)  Best of all, being able to look at the games through a number of different intellectual perspectives make things deeper and more satisfying.  I don't know how many of you feel the same way, but I find how I feel about Michigan fascinating.  I have many great friends who went there and I know it's a good place, but I really and truly enjoy watching them lose.  I don't want any Wolverines to be hurt, but I loved attending the Mirror Lake jump and hearing all the hate.  (I didn't go in the water/urine mixture...too old for that.) Like anything else, Buckeye sports are a framework through which you can understand life and yourself.

Proud alumnus of the Ohio State Creative Writing MFA Program.  Creator of the writing craft site Great Writers Steal.

MN Buckeye's picture

PJ, intelligence and education are not always linked.  Keep expressing yourself here and, as the PoetLaureate says, keep learning.

buckeye1129's picture

We have a united dream
That pulls us together as both fans and the team's players
Winning the N-C,
And silencing the naysayers.
I hope the crystal trophy comes home to Columbus in 2013,
it would mean so much to this hungry Buckeye team.
And while this might not yet be our Dream Team,
it sure as hell is a good and mean team.
Shazier is a lion, and Roby a panther,
Many fear number 10 because he never stops tryin,
and number 1 hopefully will be our pass defense answer.
With Meyer as our ships captain,
our offense will never fail to catch a defense nappin,
while our own defense will be staunch, always blitzin and trappin and viciously snappin.
Hoke will pull a Nixon and pull a few tricks'n steal our gameplan.
This of course won't work, though,
and I have no remorse saying that you're just a jerk, Hoke. 
Let's not joke by saying you're even on Lloyd Carr's level; CHOKE
is what you will do in the Big House or The Shoe
honestly in all honesty we could put in Braxton wearing a blouse, or no helmet; just a hairdo.
He would still run and gun his way into the endzone en route to beating you. 
And even if you steal the plays we won't need 9 Justices to make you turn back over our plans,
because Urban could defeat you with 22 walk-ons from our band.
By the way, good luck being a Michigan Man,
because it won't be long before you get impeachment articles drawn up by Michigan fans
and truly impeached by the invisible Michigan hand.
Even Dickrod thought that in your shoes he could stand.
And even if there were ten of you,
you couldn't brainstorm an offensive rainstorm
like the one Urban will pour on you this November,
And you will pray there are ten of you to divide the recurring nightmares you will abhor,
and every single day you will remember, until at least the start of next, next September.
 
 
 
 

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture

Very cool poem!  I agree that there's some really good rap out there.  Some rappers play with language in fascinating ways.  Your poem definitely sounds like a slam poem.
And thank you for joining in!  I'll share more poems (not TOO many...don't want to bore anyone), but I love the idea that there could be a little corner of the best Ohio State site that provides a home for people to share Buckeye poetry with each other!

Proud alumnus of the Ohio State Creative Writing MFA Program.  Creator of the writing craft site Great Writers Steal.

buckeye1129's picture

Dude that's a brilliant idea for that poetry collection.  For some reason an example of poetic rapping that comes to mind is Blackstarr, the collaboration between Mos Def and Talib Kweli.
"Smoother than water imported from Pluto
Three Hundred and Sixty Milliliters
For all the believers
and miles and kilometers
most cats cannot perceive us 
In this jungle we're the leaders 
We the lions and the cheetahs"

buckeye1129's picture

Also poems aren't boring.  I do prefer slam poetry/rhyming couplets for my individual writing style, but all types of poems are artistic thoughts flowing into words. I love it when I find that perfect, multi-syllabic rhyme that works so well it is honestly the only possible line for that part of the writing. So yeah, keep the poetry and writing coming, and you will always at least have one audience member.

Max Power's picture

we bleed scarlet through and through
the buckeye faith fresh renewed.
A man named Urban leads the way
From August's end until The Game.
We all will cheer our Buckeyes on
through thick and thin, right and wrong.
If January, a championship brings
the cheers will rise, the victory bell rings.
We all will wait for our warriors bold
through summer's heat and winter's cold.
That team up North will always suck
should they win, I call it luck
Our rooted passion will never die
for those who sing The Buckeye Battle Cry!

thank you for starting this blog and its great to read everyones creative thoughts

Max Power's picture

Buckeye Haiku:
Brady Hoke is fat.
He should eat less fatty foods.
Fear the nut pudgy.

One more:
We dont give a damn
for the idiots up north.
Move to Canada

buckeye1129's picture

Michigan plain sucks
Appalachian State beat them
How embarrassing