A Lit House: 100 poems 1975-2011
A Lit House is a 35 year retrospective of Al's poetry which shows his musicality in formal verse.
This collection touches on many of the periods and most of the concerns of Al Basile's life. There are narratives of his family history, including his Sicilian grandparents' marriage by proxy on Ellis Island; poems that deal with the lives of his parents, as well as his own conception against long odds; and character studies of figures who had profound influences on him as a child. There are poems about performing and recording, baseball, mythic tales of blues history, breeding muscle-bound flies, essays on nature, and childhood lessons learned, from the value of money to the effects of home crucifixion. Throughout there is a combination of the scientist's goal of clarity in understanding and expression, and the musician's ear for the colors of words and the tension of musical phrases against the rhythmic ground of meter. Often deceptively conversational, these poems reveal themselves in all their dimensions when read aloud.