Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tim Peeler, September 18, 2008

As soon as I agreed to undertake the creation of a weekly poetry column featuring the creative work of Hickory area poets or writers visiting the Hickory area for readings of their work, I knew immediately which poet I wanted to start with.

Tim Peeler has been a hub of poetic activity in the Hickory area for as long as I can remember. I first ran into his poetry 16 years ago when the two of us appeared together in the pages of the now-defunct Charlotte Poetry Review. His poem, “Carolina Trailer Park Take 5: Danny’s Real Dad” was, and still is, one of my favorite poems ever. I continued to follow his poems as they appeared in CPR and countless other outlets around the country. Back then he was teaching at Catawba Valley Community College, editing Third Lung Review, and helping other writers hone their craft, something he did for me without even knowing it as I emulated his style, voice, and subject matter whenever I could. Except for the disappearance of TLR, this is what he still does. In the interim, he has published five collections of poetry, including his most recent print collection Blood River: Selected Poems 1983-2005 (2005), and two baseball history books, including most recently Voices from Baseball in Catawba County, co-authored with Frank Mofford and available now from Main Street Rag Publishers (

Last fall, Peeler was, appropriately, the first reader in the newly-formed Poetry Hickory reading series, and at 6:30 on Tuesday, October 14, at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse, he will again be the featured reader at Poetry Hickory. Now, it is my great honor to feature Tim Peeler and his poem “The Little League Coaches Were” (previously published in Cold Mountain Review) as “Musings’” inaugural poem.

The Little League Coaches Were

short stocky men with greased hair

turning gray at the temples;

they were tobacco chewers

or cigar smokers, country

store owners, western music

lovers, sometimes guys who’d

pitched a season of Class D

ball or played for the famous

Legion team of forty-eight;

no one knew what went through their

heads when they stood in that first

base coaching box, meaty hands

clapping, voices southern

as stock car engines, “Come on,

boy. Let’s git this un ‘fore

that thunder cloud hits.” In a

stormy time that lapsed quickly,

they slipped through rusty twilight.