Cover image for Full court : a literary anthology of basketball
Full court : a literary anthology of basketball
Trudell, Dennis, editor.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Breakaway Books, 1996.
Physical Description:
358 pages ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS648.B39 F85 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order




Dennis Trudell

I wanted this book to exist because I love to read and I love basketball.

And there was no gathering of strictly "creative" writing about what is surely one of our most spontaneous, creative sports. While many literary baseball anthologies were available, fans of basketball and writing had only collections of journalism, or journalism mixed with an occasional story and novel fragment. Yet basketball is now our nation's most popular sport (fifty-four percent to forty-six percent over baseball, I read in the newspaper-though we're talking about passion, and how does one measure?). Further, it is a sport that our genders and races and classes play, bumping and rubbing in confined spaces, during all seasons throughout the U. S.: from farmyards and suburban driveways to housing-project courts and packed dirt churchyards. From suction-cup hoops in college dorms to milk crates nailed on phone poles. As I write this, a boy somewhere tosses underwear at a basketball laundry hamper; a girl in pigtails shoots alone in a haybarn; a seventeen-year-old slams an imaginary ball through a netless rim above smashed crack vials.

I once scored sixteen points in a grade-school intramural game to lead "Yale" to a championship over "Army." That is not very interesting to anyone else, but is of lasting importance to me. I had only scored six other points all season; and whatever else happened that day in Morris Peabody's gym-he who in 1950 insisted we shoot underhand free throws-I left there in love with a hole ten feet in the air. With a love song and story, I could never quite tell enough. One that later years on other courts, in driveways and parks and schools (on auditorium stages or gyms trespassed on weekends), would broaden and deepen. I learned the joy of jump shooting while learning the one of reading-during those indelible, crazed teenage years of learning to hide erections after glimpsing bras across school aisles. Basketball and stories, basketball and desire. . . . The pairing occurred before I knew enough of this world to count my change. Before I knew enough of language to read or write any truth. The pairing has occurred, and occurs, inside countless others. How could at lea

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Baseball and golf may still surpass basketball as a source of literary inspiration, but this ambitious collection of poems and stories shows that hoops, too, can be a writerly muse. The focus here is more on high-school contests and one-on-one competitions than on the pro game. The best pieces chosen by Trudell, who teaches English at the University of Wisconsin, use the game in daring and revealing ways, touching on ideas of masculinity (Nancy Boutilier's "To Throw Like a Boy"), family life (Jonathan Baumbach's "Familiar Games"), life on an Indian reservation (Sherman Alexie's "The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Red Anymore") and self-awareness (Stephanie Grant's "Posting-Up," set in a Catholic girls school). The oddest story in the bunch, a slam-dunk called "From Downtown at the Buzzer," by SF author George Alec Effinger, cleverly combines basketball with humanity's first contact with an alien race‘and inadvertently shows up the sameness of many of the other stories and poems, whose illuminated moments of victory and loss seem heavy and dull by comparison. The simple format‘a piece of fiction, then two poems‘is like a drive to the basket followed by two quick free throws, so that the collection reads like a special-issue literary magazine, full of small pleasures and brilliant moments but featuring few heights (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

While the literature of baseball has enjoyed a rich tradition, the same cannot be said for basketball. Editor Trudell attempts to narrow the gap with this collection of fiction and poetry. The selections generally fall into three categories: youthful experiences, reflections from the stands, and allusions to aging and death. Included are John Updike, Bobbie Ann Mason, and John Sayles and a host of lesser-known writers (a few entries were the result of an advertisement placed in a trade publication). As might be expected, there is an uneven quality to the work, particularly in the poetry. Notwithstanding the tremendous growth in the popularity of the sport, this is an optional purchase.‘William H. Hoffman, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Fla. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.