Wimbledon gets an official poet, might this start a new trend?

wimbledonImage Credit: Julian Finney/AFP/Getty ImagesAny sport in which “love means nothing” has got a bit of poetry to it to begin with, and now Wimbledon has made it official. The British tennis championship has appointed British wordsmith Matt Harvey as its official poet, and as such he will be composing a poem a day for the entirety of the two-week proceedings.

He’s already written his first contribution, entitled “The Grandest of Slams.” It starts “Excuse me. I’m sorry. I speak as an/ Englishman./For the game of lawn tennis there’s no better symbol than Wimbledon.” Harvey is the first person to hold this newly minted position. (No, Walt Whitman did not write Leaves of Grass about the Wimbledon courts.) I think this is a great precedent to set, and I wouldn’t mind seeing official poets for other athletic events, as well. I could see a number of sports working well: Football (“In New Orleans did the NFL/A stately Superdome decree”), hockey (“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackhawk”), and even golf (“Tiger, Tiger burning bright.”) What do you think? Do poetry and athletics go together? Is this a good way to smarten up sports, a good way to dumb down literature, or both?

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Comments (4 total) Add your comment
  • Brian

    A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

    • Lisa Simpson

      My favorite historical quote.

  • Luddite

    I’m torn. I think some poetry about the upcoming World Cup could be pretty incredible. But at the same time, is any poem going to be able to capture the (this is going to be lame, I admit) poetry in motion that is Lionel Messi at his best (for example)?

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