Al Basile's poems have style, joy, and - above all - verve. Sometimes they unfold with the lyric expansiveness of great jazz solos. Sometimes they shine as beautifully jeweled miniatures. What a pleasure to read a book of poems with such unabashed energy.
Al Basile's playful ease with the pentameter line bespeaks a sensibility trained in the subtleties of musical rhythm and voice. Turn almost anywhere in this rich collection from five decades and you'll find "an instinct for the game, and more."
R. S. Gwynn
While A Lit House harbors some nicely turned sonnets, Al Basile’s characteristic form is the blank verse essay, which he manages with entertaining ease. Whether writing about music or baseball, childhood friends or the frail and aging Jorge Luis Borges, he trains a fresh and sympathetic eye on his subject. “We love it when the ring of truth is strange,” he says, and this observation could almost serve as a motto for his poems, for they repeatedly arrest us with both their stable truths and their appealing surprises.