Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Saturday, April 23, 2022


by Matt Witt

This month marks the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball, followed soon after on the Dodgers by another Black all-star, catcher Roy Campanella. “Campy” was the National League’s Most Valuable Player three times, only to have his career cut short by a car accident that confined him to a wheelchair. Photo: Matt Witt and Roy Campanella.

How simple the world seemed
when I was seven years old
and met Roy Campanella,
the greatest catcher of all time,
and he asked me about the team I was on,
and what position I liked to play,
and told me to keep practicing,
and didn’t tell me that when he was my age
he couldn’t dream about playing in the major leagues
or about the years of protests it took to change that
or how when Black men came home from World War II
many could no longer accept playing in separate leagues
or sitting in separate seats
or being called “boy” or much worse.
How simple the world seemed,
but later, much later,
when I read the history books that said that
Jackie Robinson and “Campy” got to play
because Branch Rickey, the Dodgers’ white general manager,
had the courage to finally see the light,
and that he trained them to behave themselves
so they wouldn’t cause problems for the team,
by then I was old enough to know
that there was more to that story.

Matt Witt is a writer and photographer in Talent, Oregon.