Spring Books Picks

Sherman Alexie, poetry, and basketball.

Bill Resler With a feature version of his hit documentary film, The Heart of the Game, in the works, the Roosevelt girls' basketball coach can probably look forward to being portrayed by Paul Giamatti. And you can hardly blame Sasquatch for getting in on the action with a spin-off book about the unkempt, inspirational hardwood madman: The Heart of the Team: Life Lessons on and off the Court ($23.95). Given his winning ways on the court, it could be argued that his wacky antics and slogans ("Devour the moose!") would be applicable to the self-help and business sections at your local Barnes & Noble. Though I'm not sure how many flabby software execs will be willing to do wind sprints and wall-sits while he raves about the hated Garfield Bulldogs. But it just might make a good scene in the movie. An event of some sort is happening at Roosevelt High School gymnasium, 1410 N.E. 66th St., 252-4810, www.sasquatchbooks.com. Thurs., March 8. Sherman Alexie For the rest of us, not having written a novel in 10 years wouldn't be such a big deal. There's been laundry to do, OK? And I've been working on my jump shot. But when you're the city's most famous novelist, sometime filmmaker, and all-purpose literary raconteur, people begin to ask where the mojo has gone. Since 1996's Indian Killer, Alexie has written the Sundance darling Smoke Signals, directed the well-received The Business of Fancydancing, and issued two story collections (most recently Ten Little Indians). An adaptation of Reservation Blues was brewing for years at Miramax; then that studio got sold and the Weinsteins left. And Alexie's had a couple stories in The New Yorker. But the guy is now 40, no longer the rising young wunderkind. So everyone's wondering about Flight(Grove, $13), which is oddly being published in paperback with little advance fanfare. Book reviewers typically get galleys months in advance, but no copy of Flight has yet flown to my desk. And no author readings—always SRO in Seattle—are yet scheduled. Flight's plot, from what we've heard, sounds like pure sci-fi: A kid from the rez is about to commit an act of terror, when he's suddenly transported back in time to inhabit several different characters during periods of violence (including, yes, piloting a jet plane). Indians were once branded terrorists, of course, by colonials; is this the first post-9/11 novel to be written from within that maligned group? We'll have to wait and see. Publication date: March 28. Seattle Poetry Fest Shattered teeth, turnbuckle leaps, sneak attacks with folding metal chairs—there's no more bloody a ring spectacle than this annual tag-team battle between steroid-crazed poets. And all of it takes place in a steel cage! Or maybe we're reading the press release wrong. This much we know: There will be workshops, mentoring, mingling, a pre-event party at Pravda Studios, and readings galore from local writers and visiting scribes. Hometown names are likely to include Heather McHugh, John Olson, Kary Wayson, Richard Kenney, Trisha Ready, Matthew Rohrer, and Rebecca Hoogs. The Vis-a-Vis Society promises poems about office memos, or memos about poetry, or some combination of such. And what sober gathering of verse mongers would be complete without false eyelashes and pasties? Something called the Burlesque Poetry Banquet is also scheduled, where tweed jackets and corduroy will likely not be standard poetry attire. Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave., 322-7030, www.poetryfestival.org. Fri., April 20–Sun., April 22. Peter Bagge Grunge never dies, it just moves to Joisey. Or so it goes for the protagonist of Buddy Does Jersey (Fantagraphics, $14.95), which collects all 15 Hate comics (1994–98) by Ballard's Bagge. As in Buddy Does Seattle, the putative focus is music, but adulthood is the creeping subtext for the slacker grudgingly facing up to his long-term relationship with girlfriend Lisa and lack of career prospects, having failed to be the next Jonathan Poneman back in the Jet City. No matter what indignities Buddy may have suffered on the beer-sticky floors of his favorite Seattle music venues, nothing prepares him for the toxic swamp of family waiting for him back in the Garden State. Publishing sometime in May. Fantagraphics Bookstore, 1201 S. Vale St., 658-0110, www.fantagraphics.com.

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