PITCH (2012)

Todd Boss was twelve years old when the family piano was pitched from his father’s pickup truck. The poems in Pitch pick up the pieces, with variations on loss, homing, and the inner music of our lives.


Fans of Boss’s award-winning debut collection, Yellowrocket, will recognize the family farm and the nuances of marriage and children, but this new collection introduces angels, ghosts, and a portentous family dog, plus a host of music makers from the animal kingdom. These poems, “top-heavy with gravity and levity alike,” take place between worlds, between moves, between women–and always something is in danger of falling. By turns bright and dark like the keys on a keyboard, these poems demonstrate the range of one of contemporary poetry’s most musical poets.


There is a rich physicality in all of Todd Boss’s poems, a reverent gusto for representing the tactile aspects of human life. His poems are about matter in motion — apple slices, Chopin, horses, light, and people. What makes Boss much more than a journalist is the great adroitness and physicality with which sound bounces around inside his language. The poems in Pitch are never pretentious but always acrobatic, sensuous, technically inventive, muscular, and fun.

–Tony Hoagland


Available wherever books are sold.


YellowrocketSherman Alexie says it’s ”sure to be a classic.”

 is the debut collection from W. W. Norton & Co. in 2008 that caused The Georgia Review to proclaim Todd Boss “the up-and-coming master of internal rhyme.”
The poems smolder,” wrote Foreword Magazine. “They make us aware of our lives.”
“You can almost feel the hair on your neck rising as you read… If you only buy one book of poetry this year, make it Yellowrocket.” — Christian Science Monitor
Buy it here, or from your favorite independent bookseller.

Don’t Be Flip







when you drop

your mate at

the dock or



your children

at school. Don’t

be cool. Don’t



be coy. Or if

you do, don’t

assume it’s



okay to act

that way. For

today may



be your last

chance at

joy before it



flashes away

like a tin

toy in one of



those shooting

galleries in

midways: those


ducks that seem

to paddle a

stream that’s



not a stream

but a rotating




toothed for


& reappearance,



a spit

without point

or flame,



along which

randomly clucks

the whole game.



My Love for You Is So Embarrassingly


grand … would you mind terribly, darling,

if I compared it to the Hindenburg (I mean,

before it burned)—that vulnerable, elephantine

dream of transport, a fabric titanic on an ocean

of air? There: with binoculars, dear, you can

just make me out, in a gondola window, wildly

flapping both arms as the ship’s shadow

moves like a vagrant country across the

country where you live in relative safety. I pull

that oblong shadow along behind me wherever

I go. It is so big, and goes so slowly, it alters

ground temperatures noticeably, makes

housewives part kitchen curtains, wrings

whimpers from German shepherds. Aren’t I

ridiculous? Isn’t it anachronistic, this

dirigible devotion, this zeppelin affection, a moon

that touches, with a kiss of wheels, the ground

you take for granted beneath your heels—

The Trees — They Were Once Good Men






and good women,


who for whatever


reason were never


given the keys to




and who stand now


arms outstretched


to one another, some


entangled, some even


grown together, in


more than solidarity


but still afraid to fall


in love again.




these, in this thin


stand here one sees


one’s vulnerability:


one’s slender life,


one’s limbs lifted




The air.




riddled good-byes.


The wood.




Can you hear your


deepest prayer?


Your farthest flung


flitter of shame?


Your heaviest sigh,


sung like a name?




No, nor can I.