Aisle 228

978-1-62288-955-6 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
88 pp.
Pub Date: 05/10/2023


  • Paperback $18.00

Aisle 228 is a book of poems about the Chicago Cubs and listening to baseball on the radio. The speaker also details attending games with her fatherThe book highlights milestones across baseball in the past 70 years and culminates in the Cubs 2016 World Series win.

"Sandra Marchetti knows that baseball, like life, is struggle punctuated by victories but ending in failure. This is a fine book of verse."
                ~John Thorn, Official Historian, Major League Baseball

"Sandra Marchetti writes like a poet who knows the strike zone. There was a time when being a Chicago Cub fan was another way of romancing the blues. Disappointment was only surpassed by devotion to the game. I love the poems where Marchetti plays catch with her father. I like how the radio is playing throughout this book. Aisle 228 avoids the static of cliché. The poems are new and smooth like a ball ready to be rubbed by a pitcher. Sandra Marchetti writes from inside the ballpark, that holy sacred place. Let her poems guide you from the aisle to the altar."
                         ~E. Ethelbert Miller, Author of How I Found Love Behind the Catcher's Mask

"A beautiful meditation on the highs and lows of this beloved game—both the heartbreak and elation it delivers, and how it perfectly hums in the backgrounds of our lives. Aisle 228 offers the near religious experience of finding your seat for first pitch, the prayer said before the ball leaves the mound and the bat cracks, the magic and magical thinking that keeps us believing it’s (finally) our team’s turn. This collection beautifully evokes our deep devotion to baseball—regardless of who we cheer for—making it clear why we keep coming back to the stands and getting on our feet to cheer."
                                          ~Stacey May Fowles, Author of Baseball Life Advice


. . . The poems in Aisle 228 elevate the experience of baseball and the speaker’s devotion to the Chicago Cubs by engaging with loss, hope, love, and connection. With an eye and ear for imagery and sound, Marchetti reaches into the heart of “America’s pastime,” to the choreography of baseball, family, and poetry. The poems become prayers, and who hasn’t prayed for their home team....I will make my baseball confession here: I was raised in Red Sox nation and married the first cousin of Tony Conigliaro. I am well-acquainted with disappointment; I am also the least interested of all my family in the sport. And yet, I found myself transported by these  poems. Marchetti’s “Inning Ending Twin Killing” pays homage to my favorite poem, “Poem,” by Elizabeth Bishop. An ode to Pat Hughes, the radio announcer for the Chicago Cubs, Marchetti reflects on the connections made by the sport and the play-by-play announcing, much like Bishop does with the little painting in her poem. "What a thing / it is to listen / to you describe / grounding into / a double play. . . ."

When I think of baseball, I think of all the sounds: the “thwack” of the baseball against wood, the organ music, the announcers, all that cursing! Marchetti, a master poet, weaves sound throughout this book, not only by poetic form and meter, but by her emphasis on sounds and their conveyance. . . . Poetry as a part of baseball—or baseball’s poetics—serves as a means to convey loss as well. The sport becomes numinous and ghostly. . . .There is an elegiac quality to many of these poems, as if the speaker is attempting to reach back to older connection, much like tuning a radio dial. Baseball is a connection to the speaker’s father and to her lineage. . . .The poems of loss are grounded in place, in majesty of the ballfield. “1060 W. Addison,” is described as “Little haunt, this/was the first heart/break we knew.” It’s as if the speaker’s need to keep things in a place is a way to hope . . . . Baseball is the thing that returns “spring/after spring.” This is a hope generated through a collective love and listening. “My father thinks you can find/a signal from anywhere—” Marchetti writes in “Listening for Bob Uecker.” There is a surety, not only in the poetry, but in “the distance//spun out its curve/to find you.” The diamond from Ebbets Field to Wrigley finds its way into Marchetti’s ode to the 2016 World Series win by the Cubs.

Aisle 228 is a book for any lover of baseball, community, or poetry. Sandra Marchetti is a master whose “Hands work the blur.” Baseball—that heartbreaker for so many—becomes illuminated in this collection, as

                        the concave

diamond spreads

            against the night:

            a shallow bowl filled

            quick to white—

            the stadium breath

            flared then folded tight.
                                            -Jennifer Martelli

Published by Stephen F. Austin University Press