Shakespeare Bats Cleanup


Ron Koertge

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Stuck at home for months. No baseball. Few friends visit. Not much to do, so Kevin begins writing in the notebook his dad gave him. He secretly borrows one of his father's poetry books.

He tries haiku. He tries sonnet. He tries couplets. He writes about baseball, girlfriends, his dad and his mom. And as he writes, Kevin discovers much more than just different ways to write poetry.

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Most of Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is written in a poetry style called free verse. Free verse has no rules about rhyming, form, rhythm, etc. Some people think poetry has to rhyme. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  2. Which poem was your favorite? Why?
  3. Why does Kevin think baseball and poetry aren't that different?
  4. Kevin worries about never playing baseball again. What do you love to do that you'd hate to give up?
  5. Kevin tried many styles of poetry-sonnet, ballad, pandoum, haiku, blank verse, etc. What style would you choose to use if you wrote a poem?
  6. What did Kevin learn about himself as he wrote?
  7. What would you do to pass the time if you were sick for a long time?
  8. How is Mira different from other girls Kevin dated?
  9. Why is Kevin secretive about writing poetry?
  10. Why did the author choose the title Shakespeare Bats Cleanup?

If you liked this book try

  • Poems from Homeroom: a writer's place to start by Kathi Appelt
  • Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
  • Jump Bail by Mel Glenn
  • Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.