Blog prompt 2 – Night Work

If you had to pick a poem from Night Work that was your favorite, which would it be? What did you find most interesting about this poem? Make sure to answer in detail, using specific examples from the poem.

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35 Responses to Blog prompt 2 – Night Work

  1. Sarah says:

    Even though I did not like this book at all, because I dislike hockey and modern poetry, I finally read it and I would have to say the final poem in the book was my favorite (New York Hospital: I.C.U). I like it because it summed up Terry’s character pretty well and offered a strong finality to the book. Obviously, Terry lived a very tough live both on and off the court. The first stanza described how he must have felt waking up in a hospital bed all battered and bruised knowing that his life as a hockey player and maybe on the whole was nearing it’s end. He notes that he is not alone, which pleases he since he was not much a team player. He looks down at his “withered arms,” and remembers all he’s been through and decides there is no point in being fearful about the future, “Infinity is just another fucking number.”

    I also liked this poem because it was accompanied by a picture of Sawchuk’s face. This is the best poem to accompany this picture not only because it’s the last poem of the book but also because it’s the most related. The picture helped me to imagine Terry in the hospital and just how physically and emotionally painful his life must have been.

  2. Andrew L. says:

    I have to agree with Veronica and a few others when they say that this collection of poems is directed at a certain crowd — that crowd being one versed in the sport of hockey, or at least one with a general understanding of the game. There is no doubt that throughout his book, Maggs uses several sport-specific terms, as well as what seem to be a variety of certain colloquialisms, many of which I am also unfamiliar with. Fortunately, however, I was able to easily take in the majority of Maggs’ writing, and I think that even an uneducated reader (hockey-wise) would be able to appreciate the eloquence with which the poet portrays such a fast, brutal game.

    My favorite poem in the collection is “Let’s Go Dancing” on page 55. Talk about the brutal aspects of the game — this poem lets it all fly as Sawchuck spits pieces of tooth and blood out in the second stanza. Fortunately, it isn’t the brutality that attracts me to this poem, but rather the ease and style with which Maggs interprets a situation that I have so often wondered about as a sport fan…(the point when a player is taken back to the locker room to be looked at.) I suppose that some (or much) of the success of Maggs’ poetry in this collection IS his innate ability to transpose these behind-the-scene moments of a legendary sports star. There have been countless times when I’ve wondered about the interaction between said sports star and the trainer, or coaches, or whomever…and it is in this poem that Maggs so effortlessly brings that moment to life. It’s funny that I can find nothing stylistically that draws me to this poem. It is, instead, the way that the poet connected with a moment that interested me personally. I guess that must be a part of the beauty of poetry!

  3. Kathryn says:

    I enjoyed reading “Fair Trade” on page 74 because of how it looks at the different characters involved in the scene. Each character and its surroundings is described in great detail, making it easier for the reader to visual and feel a part of.

    I found the line “…when Mackell reaches absently back with on hand (I knew this was coming) and tucks in the tail of his sweater” interesting because in class we discussed how the goalie is constantly watching what’s going on around them and anticipating what comes next. This poem shows that good goalies know every aspect of the game no matter how minor it may seem. Knowing that Mackell is going to “tuck in the tail of his sweater” doesn’t seem like a point that would be relevant to the game itself but it shows the goalie’s attentiveness as he watches every players actions and anticipates what will come next based on experiences and knowledge of the game.

  4. Nikki says:

    “The greatest save I ever saw in hockey,”… Sawchuk, flat on his back in a pileup in front, puts a pad high in the air to save the game, as Terry himself shows up” (64).

    This quote is from Desperate Moves. I really liked this quote because it depicts just how great of a goalie Sawchuk really was. Imagine watching hockey now a days and seeing this happen. It would blow my mind. I am a huge hockey fan and enjoy watching the bruins at the rink and on the television. If I were to see Thomas or Rask make this kind of amazing save, I wouldn’t believe it.
    In this poem, the reporter Plante asks Sawchuk how he made such a great save and Sawchuk responds, “I stuck up a leg”. I liked this part of the poem because it shows how humble Sawchuk was. It was very interesting that in one poem you could see how amazing he was at goaltending and at the same time how humble he was. I am not sure if he actually was this humble but, it is nice to see athletes who are not full of themselves. In sports now, many athletes think they are amazing and untouchable. So it was a nice change to read about someone who isn’t like that.

  5. Hannah B says:

    The poem I like most was “A Little Story on Himself.” I liked this poem because it is more factual, more action oriented than some of the other poems. It has specifics, such as who the narrator is, where they are the problems that happen in their every day life. All these specifics make the poem have a more narrative form, with less description and less interpretation and analysis. It doesn’t take a lot to figure out what is going on in this poem. It also gives the reader a little window into the life of the players and Gerry Regan, who I’m guessing is a manager of the team. You get to see what the players have to go through in the game. He talks about how he was losing players because of family issues and illness but that there are.
    The poem has two very contrasting points, the end of i and the end of ii. The end of i is probably my favorite because reading it makes me smile. You can clearly picture the comedic scene of Regan standing in for a player, attempting to skate across the rink. The end of ii is slightly more sober, thinking of the secrets kept after so many years.

  6. Laurel G says:

    just to clarify on my posting – when I wrote that the poem I chose wasn’t specific, I was referring to the setting and the time the poem was written; we don’t really get a specific idea of when this took place. I liked this element of the unknown, because this poem left it up to me to decide around what time in Terry’s life this was; it is obviously when he is younger, because he still lives with his parents, but he is definitely not that young, because he wants to leave the house on his own to go to the ice. I am drawn to this freedom, this liberty where I am allowed to make my own assumptions and am not just told cold facts about Sawchuck. This is why I believe this poem (and book) has a strength that a normal biography couldn’t have.

  7. Laurel G says:

    If I had to choose one poem as my favorite, it would probably be The Dog Behind the Stove. I particularly liked this poem because I thought it embodied the strength that comes with writing a book of poems rather than a classic biography about a subject like Terry Sawchuck. So much of the attraction towards Terry is because of the element of mystery, of inability to relate to him. Almost no one would put on the line what Sawchuck did every time he stepped onto the ice; almost no one would put on the line what Sawchuck did off the ice either. He was human, but at the same time, he was unlike any other human of his time (of this time, even). Coming back to the poem I chose, it caught me because it isn’t specific. It is subject to the reader’s interpretation, which is very much similar to Sawchuck himself. I don’t think there was anyone in Terry’s life that fully knew him; his whole life was open for interpretation, even those who were closest to him.
    Terry’s sister lies there wide awake/She hears the clunk of logs below, then the sinking/confirmation of a slamming pan…A top stair creaks-Terry, wanting to be out and gone to the rink (29).
    This blind knowledge of her brother interested me because it really emphasized how distant Terry was from the people around him. His sister and parents may know where he wants to go, but the solemn atmosphere of the poem gives the impression that no one in his family truly connects with Terry on a deeper level.

  8. Camille says:

    My favorite poem out of Night Work is titled “Tidal Fears” (Pp. 163). Out of all of Randall Maggs’ poems, I feel that this one fully captures Terry Sawchuk’s complicated relationship with hockey as his career is coming to a close. The poem offers a glimpse of the battle that Sawchuk has with himself after every game as he rationalizes why he should (or should not) still play.
    In the very first line, Sawchuk puts out a feeling of embarrassment for his performance in his previous game, and doubt in his overall skills: “I’m through. This is it./ You saw me out there and I was shit.” (163). His bad game causes him to feel like he doesn’t have the same talent that he once had, and hence a want to get out of the game. I can comprehend where he is coming from in this moment, because I think that there is a common need amongst great athletes to get of the sport before they get beat. I think that it is that they want to be remember at their best. Sawchuk then validates his want to get out of Hockey at this point in the poem, by talking of how many times he has been ripped to pieces by the puck, and how his overall health is low.
    The poem then switches gears as the narrator then asks himself: “What was it kept him going?” The narrator throws out various reasons why you would think that Sawchuk would like to be done. Like the time could be better spent with family, or that he was getting a little too old to be dressing up with a bunch of boys to play hockey. He then speculates possible reasons why he kept going: a need to feed the family, and, my favorite line, “a tidal fear of being swept to sea” (Pp. 164). After pondering the meaning of this line, I felt that the narrator was hinting that if Sawchuk was no longer a goalie, then he would feel like he wasn’t anybody.
    The poem then reverts back to Sawchuk’s own perspective as another game has turned his self-confidence around. After an apparent shut out, Sawchuk closes the poem with: “Hell, you saw me out there- I can play this game forever.” (Pp. 164). In this poem, Randall Maggs offers a very believable reading of how Terry Sawchuk felt as his career was closing. I particularly liked how it is shown that Sawchuk had gotten to the point that he is taking his career on a game to game basis; constantly going back and forth on his feelings for game.

  9. Fiona says:

    I found “Different ways of Telling Time” to be my favorite poem. In general, I really like how Night Work goes far beyond the game on ice, as we see it, into the emotions and motivations of the men who played it, Terry Sawchuck, in particular. I enjoy watching hockey, but have never considered how physically, as well as, emotionally straining the sport once was, and to an extent, still is today, for the players. The poem “Different ways of telling time,” is a window into the mind, emotions, and motivations of the player before, during, and after a crucial game. I really like the way that the poem is constructed, with each section addressing a different block of crucial time. For me, it was really interesting to consider how differently the players conceive time, as opposed to how we, outsiders, perceive it.

    My favorite section of this poem is section iv, ice time. “I get a wiff of ice and something in me starts alive.” I love this line, as it demonstrates the deep personal relationship that only the players can have with the ice, and with the sport. This line, suggesting excitement and energy associated with the sport quickly contrasts with this section: “Holy Mary, don’t let me fall on my face tonight. I try to loosen a pad, my shaking hand so bad Jesus Jesus. Tommy Ivan shoves in beside me, knowing he needs to settle me down. New cufflinks on. Knocks my stick for luck I’m nodding but Mother of Christ I’m dying inside, can’t keep still now everybody wants to go, the clatter, the chatter, rockers, talkers.”

    This section really surprised me, but at the same time was, in a way, enlightening. On the surface, hockey players, appear strong, tough, and confident, especially the great and heroic, as well as dark, private, and enigmatic player, Terry Sawchuck. I found the interior monologue fascinating here. The extreme nerves and private pleading for success, demonstrates how, despite skill and experience, hockey is a sport with such intensity that entering every game induces excitement, as well as immense fear in the minds and emotions of the players, especially the goalie.

    The final lines of this poem perfectly capture the love/ hate relationship that the players associate with the game. “Then bang the door and Jesus here we go, someone shouts those words I love and dread, I hear them all my life – Let the goalie go first.” These lines not only capture the juxtaposing emotions connected to hockey, but also suggest that these feelings of “dread” and “love” are much more extreme for the goalie.

  10. Paul D. says:

    It is difficult to choose one favorite poem because many of them are quite similar. However, “An Ancient Fire” is a good example of how much pain Terry Endured throughout his career. After 20 years of taking pucks to his somewhat unprotected body, he finally shows some weaknes. Brett Hull annilhilates a slap shot right into Terry and it seems to suck the life right out of him. The photograph of him coming off the ice says it all. The picture is of him slumping over, clutching his shoulder in pain. It is hard to believe that anyone would be still motivated to stand in the net after such extraordinary effort over his long career. Everybody in the crowd knows that he is in the twilight of his career but they still cheer for him. It almost feels as though the fans want Terry to retire because they know how much of a beating he has taken throughout the years. What the fans don’t know is that Terry still has the competetive fire in him. When the trainer asks him how hes feeling he says “I stopped the fucking puck didn’t I ?” I like this poem because it is at a time when Terry is vulnerable and you can see he doesn’t have much time left on the ice. It is amazing that he played hockey for so long and was only in retirement a few short years before his death. In all, it is not the most uplifting poem but it is emotional noetheless.

  11. Molly says:

    I have to agree with Veronica, this book of poems felt like it was meant mainly for hockey-insiders, which I’m definitely not. I struggled through a lot of it, only half comprehending who the various characters were.
    But it’s a tribute to Randall Maggs as a writer that in spite of Night Work featuring subject matter that was not inspiring to me, his intriguing words and images shined through and kept me reading. One poem in particular, called “Long Memories” had a particularly beautiful lyrical style. “All morning I tried to sleep in a blasting wind,” he writes. “House of straw. House of sticks. A wise mans builds a house of bricks. But we grew up in Winnipeg, Ukranians, Jews, and Poles, in clapboard homes that needed paint. They leaned with the wind and reeked of cabbage and beets.”
    I thought his imagery was very stirring in this passage, as he compares his inner despair, trying to sleep in a blasting wind, with the despair of the landscape of Winnipeg and its people.
    I don’t know much about the history of Winnipeg, but this poem certainly evoked visions of a place of economic hardship and gritty, thick-skinned people. It also gives a clear picture of the diversity of the area–all varieties of eastern Europeans and a black taxi driver who has no care for the Canadian national game. He seems to be making a commentary on the evolution of the game and of Winnipeg as more immigrants move in. In the beginning of the poem he talks about “an ancient game with ancient laws,” but toward the end the taxi driver is quoted as saying ‘black folks, we don’t care for games of ice and snow.” It’s as if he’s mourning the fading out of hockey fervor, or reminiscing about “those days”. This sentiment s also evident in the title of the piece, “Long Memories.” I thought it had a touching wistfulness and I liked the sketches of Winnipeg in this particular poem.

  12. Scott says:

    I think one of the most intriguing poems for me was Guys like Pete Goegan. I really enjoyed how throughout all these different poems, so many aspects of the game of hockey were emphasized. It isn’t just players on the ice trying to get the puck in the net. There are far more aspects to the game than that, and this highlights how a single player can be put in with an intent to completely change the way the game is going. Also, the language in this poem is pretty amusing to me. The first time I read the phrase “pastings of mythological proportion” I laughed out loud. Little gems like that make reading this poetry quite enjoyable. The humor surrounding “enforcer” players is pretty great. It reminds me during middle school I think, while I was growing up in northern Minnesota of a t-shirt I saw. There was a very Pete Goegan-esque player by the name of Derek Booguard that played for the Wild, and one of my friends had this t-shirt that said “guns don’t kill people, Derek Booguard kills people.” This humorous attitude concerning the role of a player that is usually called upon in rather humorless circumstances is interesting to me. Guys like Pete Goegan I guess caught my eye in that regard.

  13. Ian M says:

    My favorite poem in “Night Work” was “Next Time”, which describes the scramble in front of the goal between Sawchuk and Ferguson. The phrase “here’s bone for your jar” is a repeating theme throughout the poems in the book and happens in “Next Time” in the first stanza. I take this phrase to mean the sacrifice of his body which Sawchuk gives to the game. Another powerful image in this poem is the theme of silence, which is what the first two stanzas end with. “All of this in silence. Nothing personal, though there may be memories.” The juxtaposition of this image with the image of the mad scramble for the puck and crunching of bones makes for a very powerful image. Again this is explored at the end of the stanza, “Backstrom bangs his stick on the ice, his curse the one word spoken in the whole exchange”

  14. Alyson H says:

    There were a few poems that really stuck with me. I really liked Jitters, because it really showed how hockey players don’t just leave the game on the rink. It’s amazing how certain plays just stick with you over time. Certain details might fade, but there is always the main event that sticks with you. In the poem it says “Jitters was all he offered to the press, neglecting to mention the friendly fire…forgot the loss, but not that foghorn voice, no, all night fucking long that voice, and he played the shot a thousand times on his bedroom ceiling where the street light shone.” (p. 44) This quote really stuck with me. I think because on a lesser scale I know how he was feeling. I play softball, and there have been times when I messed up a play that could have ended the game for the team. Of course losing the game wasn’t just my fault, but because the other team had finally won the game it was my fault we had lost. I still remember those plays, and replay them in my head, knowing exactly what is coming and positioning myself right so that I can make the play. I guess what I am trying to say is that this poem doesn’t specifically pertain to hockey. It happens in every sport. But then Sawchuk would shake off that night, and come back strong. “But on his game he was trouble. Sometimes you hardly saw the point of showing up.” (p. 44) I also really liked this passage, because sometimes you need a bad loss, to wake you up a little, and know that you aren’t infallible. You need that loss to stick with you so that you do everything in your power to not ever have that feeling again, and when you start to get to big of an ego, you need the process to repeat itself. A loss like that makes you work harder to be the best, so that you don’t have plays like that haunt you every night after a game. The poem even says “Oh immortality….But then the trade to Boston and the fall.” This quote just further proves my point about once you have too much of something good, something will always occur that puts you right back in your place, and makes you work from the ground up once again.

  15. Timmy T says:

    My Favorite poem from Night Work would have to be “Different Ways of Telling Time”. I enjoyed this poem the most because I believe it describes the essence of the mentality of a goalie, hockey player, and athlete the best, (in regards to the most important element in sport, space and time). I like how the poem describes hockey player’s actions as “flashy physics”, which is all it merely is in a broad and general perspective. When time is close to the finish it is a true test of one’s mental focus and poise. I believe Sawchuk was one of the greatest at keeping his composure and poise in crucial moments when time was running thin. Being an athlete, I agree with the statement in the poem, “No one in the building likes time’s place” (Maggs 49), whether time is your enemy or in your favor. Even the audience is unsettled during the game and unsatisfied when time runs out. Hockey players can easily be distracted by their helplessness when time is against them, or they can seize the final moments they have and imagine time does not even exist. Sawchuk was the master of seizing the final moments of a game, with his 115 shutouts. The closing line, “imagine the power, to kick time’s arse like that”, portrays Sawchuk as not intimidated towards time. He strove for that powerful feeling it gave him by kicking times ass.

  16. Nigel says:

    My Favorite Poem from Night Work : Desperate Moves
    The poem Desperate Moves is one of my favorite poems in the book because it reveals more about Terry Sawchuk actually playing the game of hockey than do other poems in the book. It also is interesting to see his handling of complimentary remarks about his game. Jacques Plante compliments Sawchuk’s great save at the end of a game. Sawchuk refuses to play into the targeting of his personal life and hockey by tactfully shrugging off his accomplishments in public. He’s not someone who’s interested in glorifying himself nor letting an opponent undermine him. Sawchuk counters the compliments “You know yourself Jacques, its better to be lucky than good”. Of course they are both on public television, Hockey Night in Canada. Sawchuk’s refusal of Plante’s attempt to discuss Sawchuk’s personal life “His catching hand comes up to make a point , to ask about the sudden drop in weight over 200 pounds to 165 in a year, the trade, the brutal Boston press, the train in the night to Detroit. But Terry steers the question off into a corner,” adds an edge to the feeling of the poem. It defines how we understand Sawchuk as a person. Sawchuk is very guarded in his personality as well as his goal keeping. I also like this poem because I like how although he is fierce on the ice, he is tactful in public view. He defends himself well in both the game of hockey and life. The difficulties he faces throughout his career have shaped his defensive nature and attribute to his edgy persona that this poem illustrates.

  17. Megan N. says:

    My favorite poem in Night Work is one that we discussed during class; Different Ways of Telling Time. I like how this poem is broken up into different sections. The time described throughout the poem is not always consistent; each section is describing a different perspective of time. The first section: last minute of play is when everyone is aware that there is only a minute left on the clock. It says “Get going clock. Slow down slow down” (49). Everyone experiences the last minute differently, it could either feel really fast of really slow, depending on the person. The second section: you could drift out here forever is when the referee adds four seconds to the time. It says, “…imagine the power, to kick time’s arse like that” (49). This could change the whole game, four seconds has so much power to the game. The third section: sudden death I found very interesting. Sudden death is compared to a cat and to traffic. It says, “Blink and you’re done…” (50). It’s like having it all, and one second later it’s gone. The fourth section: ice time is about the time the players arrive, they have the same routines and rituals before the game. One of their routines is to, “let the goalie go first” (51). The fifth section: carpe diem is about seizing the day and making the most out of the time on the ice. It says, “…you get a chance, make it count” (51). It basically says to not waste your time on the ice, do what you can with the time you have. The final section: big river is about the time after the game. At one point it says “… her fingers trace from scar to scar. That was Watson, this one here, Henri Richard…” (52). This is when it talks about keeping time through scars. All of the years in the game add up.

  18. Matt Graham says:

    While not many of the poems really grabbed me, I’d say the one I enjoyed the most or at least stuck out in my memory was ‘Why I Like Bars’. While it is by far not the only poem in the collection to do so I like the way that it takes you out of the focus on hockey and acts as a sort of commentary on a reprieve from Terry’s more troubled and dangerous life as an NHL goalie. It also contains my favorite line in the collection, “the thing I like about bars was the way they shoe-horned you into the night.” I like Magg’s use of language in this poem, it combines a more relaxed subject matter than many of the other poems and has more to say about leaving thoughts of things in the past behind and seeking of relief and relaxation from a difficult life and career. The ending of the poem is also nicely tied together. Magg’s gives a sense of Terry’s departure from the grind and going back the regular life, “are you leaving so soon? I hear her murmur into her pillows.” It’s almost as if as the poem ends so does the escape from the grind of being a professional hockey player and he seems to face this fact with a mixture of bravery and acceptance, “so here I am looking down into an unfamiliar street. Some things don’t change.”

  19. Amelia says:

    I hate to sound like a broken record, and many people have said this before me, but I have to say that I think “Different Ways of Telling Time” was probably my favorite, in that it at least stuck out to me the most. I have extremely limited knowledge of hockey (i.e. NONE) and so a lot of the poems were confusing to follow and I found myself frustrated a bit. However, in this particular poem, Magg’s was able to present a certain aspect of hockey that I could relate to; Time. As something I (like everyone else) experience everyday, this poem about time, tied in with hockey, enabled me to get a better feel for how the players felt in the game. Since this poem felt more accessible to me, I found myself pulled into it. It brought my thoughts to time’s in my life when I, like the winning team, wanted the clock to “Get going…” and time’s when I wanted it to “Slow down Slow down”(p49) I particularly loved the line “No one in the building likes time’s pace.” I feel as though that statement applies to so much more than just Hockey or sports in general. I love that Magg’s is so good at tying themes of Hockey into the greater spectrum of things, it really illuminates how influential hockey was to Terry and the other players…it clearly wasn’t just a game. Section (iv) of this poem also really jumped out at me, as it was one of the more ‘gentle’ passages I encountered in the book. “I watch her shoulder’s gentle rise and fall/like she’s floating on the water.” (p52) I like the contrast of Terry skating on ice, and this woman floating on water.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book and had a great time listening to him speak about the book; Randall Maggs is the man!

  20. Lauren says:

    I found the poem “Game Days” to be one of the most interesting pieces in Maggs’ collection. This poem is not particularly my favorite, but I could relate most to this, having been an athlete myself for many years. Right off the bat, Maggs touches on one of the major themes of depression, “Woke to an unwelcome darkness at the window” (130). Personally, I think darkness is the complete opposite of what a game day feeling is like. For most, game day is something to look forward to, which brings about feelings of excitement and hopefulness. The fact that Sawchuck cannot even feel happiness about a game day for his sport, his livelihood, further proves Sawchuck’s depressed state of mind. I think Maggs might have been representing Sawchuck’s troubled mind by going off on a tangent about kittens while he should be focusing on the task at hand: the upcoming game.
    I agree with Azure in that I found it rather hilarious picturing a brawny man like Sawchuck enjoying the company of two playful kittens. Maggs writing in “Game Days” appeals to the senses because he uses the words like ‘silence’ and ‘murmur’. I think the most interesting line of this poem is, “the sound left low as always game days” (130) for two reasons. This is because I realized that Maggs summed up the entire poem in that single line, meaning that days like these are low and commonplace. Honestly, you do not have to have played a sport to understand that it is strange to feel so negatively about a game day.
    I think that Sawchuck wishes he could actually be a feline after reading the last stanza of the poem. Maggs describes Sawchuck in a state of mind that puts him in the cat’s position. It humors me to think of how troubled Sawchuck’s mind potentially was. I found this poem most interesting because Maggs did a great job of touching on both a major theme throughout the book and the elusiveness of Sawchuck’s mind.

  21. Alex M. says:

    I would have to agree with Veronica’s statement in her post about Night Work not really reaching out to her. Personally, I have very little connection to hockey and do not know much about the game or the various hockey teams and players. Through this text I have definitely learned more about what it means to be a goalie in this game, especially during the time Sawchuk was playing. In many of the poems and discussions we’ve had it is clear that although he remains a legend, there is very little known about him personally. The last section of “Different Ways of Telling Time,” entitled “big river,” resonated with me. This part of the poem seems to represent a moment when time stands still for Sawchuk. It relates to more than just hockey; everyone knows the feeling of complete relaxation at home or somewhere comfortable, whether it is after a tiring game or a long day at work.

    I liked this about the end of the poem because it was relatable even to those who do not have a connection with hockey. He is thinking over the game, like many people replay the day’s events, and he seems fully content being close to his wife. My favorite lines are, “I love the city softly locked. Let it snow forever” and “I don’t need her clock to know the time.” For a man who usually relies so heavily on every minute and second, in this moment time is of no importance. These lines illustrate how relaxed Sawchuk is and he seems to feel as though time is in slow motion or not moving at all. Another line I really appreciate is, “I grab a little closer to her back. God, how bad I need this heat;” Sawchuk is portrayed as a tough guy, with a hard exterior. However, these lines make him seem vulnerable and it’s interesting to see Maggs portray this side of him. Overall, I really enjoyed this last section because it is shows Sawchuk in a more personal and emotional light. I also like feeling a connection with what I’m reading and the portrayal of his peace with time and space in this moment is very relatable.

  22. Evan M says:

    The specific poem that I connected with, and enjoyed the most was one poem we discussed in class “Different ways of telling time.” the line that states: “The guys arrive as if at random intervals,lay out their gear, lucky shirt, same skate first,same old jokes about my liniment, Jesus,Ukey, lose that shit why don’t you?” I loved this line because, as a hockey player myself I can really relate to what is happening, every guy on the team has a different way of preparing for the game and little idiosyncrasies about their preparation. You always joke about other peoples habits but at the same time someone else is making fun of yours, I guess it is just a natural way of clearing the jitters before a game.

    I also loved the few lines “Spectacles shift and glitter behind the glass.
    Maybe someone they know but they never look
    at the crowd. They’re at the bench to hear the plan –
    “Boys, you get a bounce here, things can happen fast.”
    Left out on the ice – they might as well be
    on the moon – both goalies eye the clock,
    one’s for zero, the other likes infinity,
    but things can change.

    This really illustrates how focused the team is, the crowd doesn’t matter, its all about the game. It’s hard to stay focused when you know you have peers out in the stands watching your every move, I guess that is what makes these guys professionals, their ability to zone out distractions and get into the game like it’s the only thing that matters.

    overall I liked the book, it was hard to stay focused every poem because for the most part they were different but it was always good to find similarities within the poems themselves which kept me interested.

  23. Veronica B says:

    I have to be completely honest and say that this book did not reach out to me in ways that others have, or even in the way I’d expected it to. The references to players I didn’t know and even to the game of hockey itself were often over my head and difficult to follow. Once I came to terms with the things I figured I’d never understand, the raw emotions of Sawchuk and other personalities present in the poems became the focus of my reading.
    One of the first quotes I really liked was on page 20, in the first poem “Neither Rhyme nor Reason”. The wife of Red Storey warns the narrator to “watch the icy steps”. I love how the use of the word icy brings an up the subject of hockey in an ominous way. Beware of the ice, be careful, she says to the reader. In the context of Sawchuk, the ice represents his tumultuous relationship with hockey, and in this book hockey is the lens through which everything else in his life is viewed. This opens the book with an interesting caution to the reader about the struggle they are about to encounter.
    One of the poems I liked the best was “Jitters”. It highlighted the ups and downs of the early Sawchuck and introduced some of the interior crazies and dark corners of his mind. His golden age “made him insane/ he’d sweat through the night and jerk/ wide awake, pucks bouncing/ every which way in his darkened room.” (44). Even at the top of the spinning wheel of his career (maybe even especially), he is tormented by his failures and faces this immense personal pressure to perfection. “[E]ven in those heady shoulder-hoisting days,/ something darker seemed to bide its time.” (45). This statement is powerful and sets Sawchuck apart from the rest of the team, drawing particular attention to the THING lurking in his head, causing him to be different. I suppose defining this THING could even be Maggs’ purpose, or at least exposing what it is that makes Sawchuck different or interesting.

  24. Shane W. says:

    The poem that I enjoyed most was Guys like Pete Goegan, mostly due to the fact that the description of Goegan’s mentality on the ice was similar to mine. I’ve played hockey my entire life, yet, like Goegan, I spent almost more time in the penalty box than on the ice. Goegan was an enforcer, or as Maggs puts it he was “sent out by Adams to settle a score or get something going.” The enforcer does not play to score goals, he plays to hit. He plays to knock out an opposing team’s best player, or just gain some momentum with a bone jarring hit. I always played in that manner, and Maggs creates an image of Goegan that allows me to connect to him as a player. In addition, the description of the bus after the game makes me reminisce of my time in high school. It seems that all hockey buses have many things in common; I can picture me and my former teammates talking in the back of the bus in a similar manner as the players in this poem. “The voices down in the back are subdued, the talk of a nose rearranged, a glove flapped in the face of a disliked opponent. You hear the quiet approving laughter, down the old road, old debts erased, the scraps and skirmishes, pastings of mythological proportion.” Those lines in particular epitomize the after game talk of a hockey team. Some may talk of the goals or great plays, but all players really relish the gritty side to the game: the quick face wash with the glove to spark a fight and get back at a rival player, or a brutal open ice check. All true players love this side of the game, it’s the reason you play, well the reason I played. Overall, the imagery in this poem was striking and I could picture the bus and the players as if I were there. The subject of this poem was unique, as one seldom finds a poem about the goon or enforcer of a hockey team. Just reading this makes me want to lace up the skates and knock the daylights out of some poor sucker skating oblivious with his head down across the blue line.

  25. Juliana Katinas says:

    “Hole in the Hat” addresses Maggs’s major themes, but in a more abstract way than his other poems. I never thought I would describe hockey as poignant, but this poem, for me, developed the theme of sadness in many ways. The way that the beginning section uses cropped sentences, many of them one word, showed the player’s lifestyle of constant motion. The wording was interesting and difficult to decipher. The way that the memories were recounted was almost inarticulate: “Snake rocks. Cactus. An hour from Houston the radiator blows.” The narrative voice jumps and does not use many descriptive words. It’s as if the voice has suffered from a stilted intellect. These players are reduced to simple machines designed to perform until they can’t any more. Their lifestyle and the way they are carted across North America has clear effects on their brains and memories. As the poem progresses, it describes a scene with Sawchuk in action on the ice. I chose this because I feel like it is one of the most revealing scenes of Terry’s inner monologue. Terry watched from the narrator, who observes that “here’s a mindlessness he’s grown to love…” Sawchuk suffered from depression and alcoholism, and was generally an unhappy person. It is not hard to conceive how one in that situation might yearn for the simple—yet dangerous—tasks required of him by playing hockey. Succeeding at hockey does not require intense brainpower, and for Sawchuk, it was an escape from the world around him. He seeks out this state of numbness, but in the end, this is what damages him the most. In the scene, Sawchuk is hit in the eye. When he falls to the ice (“like a pallet of stone”) he feels “relief at last.” Sawchuk is disappointed when he hears voices and realizes that he is not dead. Sawchuk feels the familiar breath of a person closely examining to see just how injured he is: “you must be just a thing when someone looks that close.” Even Sawchuk has an understanding of how his body is used as an object. In the end, his injured eye was fixed, and the last line calls it, “Just a little bump along the way.” This final sentence sounds like a placation that one might say to a child as a way of explaining something difficult. Sawchuk is treated as a child and is not valued for his mind or opinions, just his body. The narrator does a good job in suggesting that Sawchuk knows these things, but is in a tragic state where there is no turning back—he’s on this bumpy road, and is stuck until it’s over.

  26. Matthew P says:

    My favorite poem in this book is titled “The Thousand Things.” I never have been a die hard hockey fan , but I love the word usage and description of the hockey player’s subconscious thoughts during a dramatic moment that describes Sawchuck going down hard on the ice. It brought me completely into the work. “Sawchuck was down, face flat on the anesthetic ice” (Maggs 147). The way the ice is used in this line is interesting to me. The hard ice that Sawchuck violently falls at the same time is soothing his wounds. “You better stay down Terry,” is used several times throughout the poem. It hits the nail on the head as to what the subconscious mindset of the apposing players is during this heart racing situation. The players fear Sawchuck’s amazing skill and unique style as a goalie. When Sawchuck is hurt, the opposition is hoping that he will stay hurt so the wall in between them and winning can be broken. The poem emphasizes how strong and courageous Sawchuck is as a goalie. “He hits the ice like he’s been shot” (Maggs 147). The beautiful and well chosen words of this moment in Sawchuck’s life truly honors him as a player and allows a reader to get closer than ever to that amazing moment in time.

  27. Peter C says:

    My favorite poem from Night Work was “Different Ways of Telling Time” because I felt like I could directly relate to anybody who ever played ice hockey. When Maggs portrays time in different ways through Sawchuk’s mind I like to think some parts are indescribable just because nobody ever actually thinks about their emotions but he seems to hit the nail on the head. Having heard parts of it out loud from the author also made me understand some parts better. The speed at which the mind thinks is so fast and this is something I noticed as well. It’s the mind thinking and certain parts need to be emphasized to get the point across. In the 4th stanza of the poem “ice time”, it reads
    “I watch his moving hand
    distracted by the veins and lines that make the hand
    a miracle, an acrobat, a thief. Gotta have it, guys.
    The adrenaline and focus described here is so true and everybody has that seem feeling before stepping on the ice.

  28. Emily says:

    “This is where the cat melts into the trees”

    The thing that struck me the most as I read the book of poems was not a particular poem, at first, but that one line from Transition Game. I couldn’t take an interest in a lot of the poems, although written beautifully, hockey is something I never watch or care about. But this line made me stop when I read it. This line and others like it that bring in allusions and analogies are what made the whole enjoyable for me to read. In fact, at first, I really didn’t pay too much attention to the rest of this particular poem. The broken lines made it a quick read and I forgot about all but that one line. But in class, when we discussed Different Ways of Telling Time, I noticed that section (iii) sudden death; the same cat analogy was used. The cat “wanting out” waiting and stretching leisurely, contrasting the man waiting impatiently for the game over the radio to finish.
    In Transition Game, the cat is again used a symbol of coy and patience. It sits and watches the butterfly zoom around it and only casually paws at it, wanting “no truck with time.” The narrator is a goalie, presumably Terry, who like the cat, waits idly watching the game from the other side of the ice, he contemplates “arcs and angles” and the crowd in the stands. It almost sounds peaceful. I can remember when I was maybe thirteen, acting as goalie on my soccer team. I would look over at my parents watching me, think how the letters were peeling off the back of my defenders’ jerseys, about the dirt tornadoes swirling at the top of my box, and only when I looked up to see a forward on the attack and in close proximity to my net would I snap out of it (or into it, I guess).
    And “This is where the cat melts into the trees.” This line for me just flows so well I want to say it over and over, it could be a catch phrase. That cool cat senses a mouse and chases full speed ahead. The broken sentences and jerky thought process of a goalie are right on. “intent on/ where read the turn of wrist/ and tilted blade see it all before you see/the hand leaps drop to the ice to cover up crunch…mocking eyes…
    Here, instead of seeing Terry as a hard person, we see the stress from a goalie’s perspective, and I like that it is in the section called Goaltender Suite, “Terry’s” point of view is most interesting to me to read from because it contradicts how most people see/know him.

  29. Jake A says:

    My favorite poem in Night Work: The Sawchuck Poems was titled, “Next Time.” I really liked this particular poem because it was hockey and Sawchuck at their most basic and true terms. This poem really captured both of these elements very well, and used fantastic descriptions that allowed me to envision the whole scene. This is the first stanza of the poem.
    “Six attackers, frantic to even the score, the rink tips, bodies piling onto me. Ferguson hacks my bad elbow, his look says, Here’s bone for your jar. Hooks my feet from under me, lands on my legs. I punch at the back of his head and get this whiff of hair cream. All of this in silence. Nothing personal. Though there may be memories.”
    I can feel the tension as I imagine six hockey players charging at him determined to score. Word’s like, “attackers”, and “frantic” add to this heightened sense of awareness. There is soo much energy and destruction as the bodies are “piling” onto Sawchuck that the rink even “tips”. This word showcases the feeling Sawchuck often had of all eyes being on him. Also “tips” can be viewed as a way to describe the uneasy feeling he had, while the entire game remained in question for a split second. The violence of the game is also captured in this poem. Sawchuck’s “bad elbow” is hit by “Ferguson” and Sawchuck punches at his head in retaliation. This shows how tough Sawchuck was. But all he could think about was the “whiff of hair cream” he smelled. This illustrates that in the midst of all this violence and excitement Sawchuck was very relaxed and comfortable. For this was just another day on the job for him. This idea is further supported by the phrase, “Nothing personal.” So much happens so quickly while defending goals in Hockey, that time seems to stop for nothing else matters. The line, “All of this in silence.” portrays this idea, because although there is a lot of noise and disruption happening all at once, Sawchuck heard nothing. He was focused on the one thing that mattered most, defending the goal.

  30. Cassie says:

    I really enjoyed Rough Calculations, on 95, especially the first section, chiaroscuro. It compares the sensuality of baseball and hockey in almost erotic terms. My favorite phrase in it is “pendulous invitation”. That first sensual section about the curves of a baseball compared with the flat a-sexual puck is contrasted wildly with the violence of the second section, which is about the force of which a puck can hit a face and how much the skull can indent from it. The emotionless and desensitized formulas are very purposefully juxtaposed with the first part. This contrast intrigues me. I think Maggs wishes to point out that hockey has a very different sort of power from other sports. It’s violent, messy, and easy the underestimate, yet has a flavor that is unique and irresistible.

  31. Nicolaus Fox says:

    Like Megan D, I was also interested in the way that Sawchuck’s teammates reacted to the stoic, yet displaced and grumpy attitude that seems to have always surrounded the “greatest goalie of all time.” I really liked the poem “No Country for Old Men,” because in addition to referencing Yeats, Randall Maggs paints a picture of the scene in the locker room after Hull’s slap shot cracks Terry’s shoulder in a way that is both artistic and with a commitment to relating the deep emotion and universal understanding that lingered so heavily in the air after the game.
    “Half undressed he slumps against the wall, no one says a word about the cigarette in his hand. […] These were guys who’d paid their dues, who’d seen it all. But this was a moment that got their attention, seeing what they’d asked of him that night” (Maggs 153-154).
    As is the case with many of the Sawchuk poems, Maggs employs a tone in his narration of this scene that complements the sense of inevitable suffering surrounding the nature of the game, and especially Terry’s position as Goalie. He draws very effective analogies like that of the sticks being dropped to the sound of crutches, as well as indirectly offers insight into the player’s condition with lines like “He’d drink a seven up but can’t get up and wouldn’t ask” (Maggs 153). Even the structure of that sentence reflects the deliberately short, abbreviated, and tired spirit of the locker room, and this greatly adds to the degree of perspective as well as the overall influence of the poem. I also really liked how the team’s allegiance to Sawchuck (despite his unfriendliness) was equated to soldiers who similarly abandon all moral character judgments in war, because they had seen the extent of his sacrifice and “they knew they weren’t going anywhere without him” (Maggs 154). It is evident that Maggs is able to express great emotion and intensity through the use of brief statements, which take on a factual tone and sense of causality. This in turn makes his writing especially impressionable in its thematic richness and its precise portrayal of the legend that is Terry Sawchuck.

  32. Megan D. says:

    My favorite poem from Night Work was “An Ancient Fire” on page 145. I liked this poem because it also had the picture right next to it so that as a reader you could see for yourself and not just read the description about the moment in the game Maggs is writing about. When I first flipped through the book after getting it, the picture had captured my attention because of how grainy and the pain and worry that is evident on the faces of the people behind Terry and the agony of Terry himself that you can see through the way he is standing. I liked the poem that accompanies the picture because it really gave me a sense of being in the moment at the game. Terry looks injured in the photo and the poem uses this image to put the reader into the position of someone in the crowd. I like how you can also get a sense of Terry’s personality and the way he and his teammates got along. We had discussed in class how Sawchuk was a loner and didn’t get along with his teammates much, wasn’t very social with anybody, and could have a bit of an attitude sometimes. The reaction of the trainer, Haggart who “comes closer but warily” and “Baun looks worried but keeps his distance” shows that they are fearful of going near Sawchuk due to his injury. Terry has turned his back to them from being in pain, as though he is refusing help and once again asserting himself as a loner. The narrator has the impression that Terry is defeated, as does the rest of the crowd. “The signs of defeat are clearly there. The crowd’s on its feet and the singing begins…Good Bye, Terry, Good Bye” (145-146). The narrator gives the impression that everyone in the crowd is thinking Sawchuk is done after taking a hit from Hull’s slap shot has done him in. Yet Terry has not given up. “Wouldn’t you know it, though, he snarls when Haggart asks him how he feels- ‘I stopped the f***ing puck didn’t I?’- and he turns to glare in his fury” (146). This is another line that shows the attitude of Terry and his dedication to the game. He is not worried about his injury as much as he is worried about stopping the puck in order to win the game. This reaction to being asked about how he feels also shows him isolating himself from others because he is not allowing them to care about him in a manner that is typical when one is injured.

  33. Aaron says:

    I didn’t exactly have a favorite poem, but I particularly liked ‘Tunnel to Windsor’, on pg. 170. Like many of the other poems in the book, it captures the surly, depressed spirit of Terry Sawchuk, especially his intense dislike for reporters and interviews (“I see the pens cocked, the crowd around me like a choir. Drag your ass into the showers, I tell myself, maybe you’ll drown. Boys. Who do you think you’re talking to here? A Poet? A Fucking Philosopher?…..I only come out of the showers after they’re gone. Sons of bitch reporters. Won’t they ever leave me alone?”). I also live about 45 minutes from the border, and his brief descriptions of the two cities (Windsor and Detroit) were pretty accurate, and definitely something I could relate to, having visited Detroit many times (“and here’s the city itself in ruins, brick buildings tumbled down. Vagrants lean against what’s left of the walls. Grass and burdocks grow up through the rubble”). It can seem overly stereotyped and clichéd, but major sections of the city of Detroit really are examples of ‘urban decay’, and I thought it was an interesting touch how Maggs linked the decline of the hoyckey stars (especially Sawchuk) with the decline of the city.

  34. Latimer says:

    As we discussed in class, and as is evident throughout the collection of poems, Sawchuk hated practices, and he hated how his teammates would hit incredibly hard shots at him in practice and then be timid when hitting at opponents in a real game. “Things in Our Day” (p. 135-139) paints a beautiful description of Sawchuk’s mannerism’s, especially with regards to his teammates’ antics.

    While it is never completely possible to tell “who” is narrating, it seems that Randall Maggs meets with Gary Bergman, one of Sawchuk’s teammates from the Detroit Redwings. Sawchuk has turned around in his goal after warm-ups, as the National Anthem begins to play.

    “And one of the boys had just ripped a long one toward the net and the puck sails through the dark and smacks Terry right behind the knee where he’s got no padding. Oh Lord, I’m thinking, here we go…He goes rigid like someone shot him from the stands, then sort of slithers down the goalpost to the ice. My mind is racing. I don’t even think about him being hurt and so much at stake for the team. All I can think, he’s going to kill someone. One of his own guys, right in front of all these people. Right in the middle of the national anthem…Then you see that silhouette of Terry slowly hauling himself up the post and flopping over the crossbar…Hysterical that’s what we were…Straight off the ice he goes, up the tunnel and into the dressing room. Doesn’t say a word to anyone…Someone said ‘I bet he was into his third gin and tonic before the first period ended.’ Someone else said, ‘Yeah, he was moving pretty good for a guy with a bad leg” (138-139).

    This passage, including the bits I skipped, says a lot. Sawchuk clearly does not like shenanigans from his teammates. The fact that he collapses, most likely in pain, shows a human side to the man who took stitches in his lip with no anesthetic. He is able then to shake off the pain, like his normal self, to walk off the rink. Walking away was probably a bit because he was hurt, and more because he was punishing his team, especially for laughing; they all knew how terrifying he could be. There is also an allusion to an alcohol problem. The story Bergman tells reveals the deep underworld of the sport, and the nature of Terry Sawchuk. His talents were, and are, not to be scorned or taken for granted, and he made sure his team knew that.

  35. Azure says:

    If I had to pick a poem from Night Work to deem as my favorite, it would have to be Game Days. What I found most interesting (and quite frankly very comical) about this poem was the fact that Sawchuk, a big, famous, manly hockey goalie was talking about kittens, “What woke me?–those kittens… Nervy buggers” (130). The contrast between cute kittens playing with each other and being distracted by toppled shoes and the dark and twisted Sawchuk was a pretty hilarious one in my opinion. Another thing that caught my attention about this specific poem was when Sawchuk talks about his bad elbow, “… the elbow slowly disintegrates. More bones for the jar when the season’s done” (130). That line really struck me; he knew that this game was slowly killing him, but he kept at it and loved it just the same, “God, there’s moments you love the game” (130). If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is. It was extremely inspiring, even though he was slowly falling apart due to his passion.
    Finally, another thing about this poem that made it my favorite was the last line describing the kittens, “Their eyes peer out at me from a world of well-timed leaps and near catastrophes, unexplained absences, the skill that makes them cruel” (130). I’m pretty sure that Randall Maggs wasn’t only describing the kittens here; those characteristics were pretty congruent with Sawchuk as well.

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