Aisle 228 by Sandra Marchetti

Aisle 228
by Sandra Marchetti

Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2023

Reivewed by Kathleen Kirk
EIL Poetry Editor

It’s baseball season, and I’m enjoying the baseball poems in Aisle 228, by Sandra Marchetti. It’s about baseball in general, the Cubs in particular, her father, who took her to games, and Aisle 228 at Wrigley Field, where they often sat. Sometimes a game is on the radio; sometimes, in a story someone told. And sometimes it’s 2016, the year the Cubs won the World Series! Indeed, the book is divided into Losers and Winners sections, with poems from the (108) years of not winning the Series, and poems of stellar moments, joy, and redemption. Here’s a short poem that captures what it’s like to root for the Cubs:

     Being a Cub Fan

     How many


     of my life

     have I spent

     with hands


     hoping for one

     to go out?

Sometimes a poem is about trying to get a radio signal; sometimes, about the loyalty of sticking it out for extra innings. Details of games, but also of post-game moments, like exiting the stadium in “Denouement”—“A dozen doors thwack open / dull as scrapped cups.” The poem “Relish” is a pun and a tribute to baseball food, the hot dog, the onions, the mustard (never ketchup!).

“Twilight” is a lovely father-daughter teaching moment, the speaker learning about the strike zone. It reminded me of batting practice with my brother on our acre of front lawn, in front of a thick old tree, now gone, struck by lightning…. There’s even a poem, “Invasive,” about a duck on the field, that teaches me about co-existence. And a couple of these poems remind me of the correct spelling of sports announcers’ names: Bob Uecker, Harry Caray.

What a charming book, even if you’re not a Cubs fan, or even a baseball fan. You want to know more about America’s pastime, don’t you? And, though from a particular address, “1060 W. Addison,” here’s a stanza for us all:


     Our childhoods hang

     like ghosts in the aisles

     waiting on us

     to ascend the stairs,

     snatch, and wear them.



Sandra Marchetti at EIL

Aisle 228 by Sandra Marchetti


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.