Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Quiet, Please: Wimbledon Appoints Its First Official Poet

Hey! I get to blog about two of my major interests: tennis and literature!

From The Guardian, Wimbledon Appoints Its First Official Poet. An excerpt:

Previous Wimbledon tennis champions may have been motivated to greatness by the rousing passage from Rudyard Kipling's If inscribed above the players' entrance to Centre Court.

But players inspired by the words "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same" now have a new muse, after Matt Harvey's appointment as the Championships' first official poet.

Harvey will produce a poem a day throughout the fortnight as the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club follows Heathrow airport and Marks & Spencer in embracing the vogue for writers in residence.

Kipling's 1899 masterpiece may be a daunting act to follow, but Harvey, who will produce a poem a day throughout the fortnight and is a regular on Radio 4's Saturday Live, will be doing his best to capture the flavour of the event, with verses published online and in special podcasts.

Expect themes to include strawberries, queues, the rain and, undoubtedly, the traditional Centre Court tantrum.

We're actually well into my favorite part of the tennis season right now. The year usually starts with a bang--The Australian Open--and then, for months...very little. There aren't that many big tournaments (at least, that are broadcasted), and the few that are which the top players join are spread out.

But right now it's clay court season, slow dirt-balling, which leads up to its climax at Roland Garros, The French Open, which begins on May 23, 2010. This is immediately followed by the very short and very fast grass court season. The warm-up grass court tourneys bring us to a head at Wimbledon.

Do you know that for the last three years, the Wimbledon men's finals have all been exciting five-setters?

Okay, okay. I'll stop now. Not many share my tennis fanaticism. And this is a blog about literature, reading, writing, books, publishing, printing. So there's my link between the two: this year, there's a poet at Wimbledon. :)

Click here to read the whole article.

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