(Ed. note: Los Angeles Review of Books poetry editor Gabrielle Calvocoressi has invited a team of poets to cover the 2012 London Summer Olympics. If you land here first, you'll get a taste of what's to come with an opportunity to head over to LARB for the rest. It's going to be an exciting way to experience the games. Who better to write about sports, athleticism, competition, than poets?)
TO SAY I AM LOUSY at sports is an understatement. Given the chance, I would pick myself last for my own baseball, handball or volleyball team. And yet, I love to watch athletics more than almost anything, and I find this to be true with many poets I know. Contrary to popular belief, poets are some of the most avid sports fans around. I’ve wondered about it for a long time and I’ve decided that there’s no better time or place to consider the question of what draws poets to sports than the 2012 Summer Games. Starting with the opening ceremonies on July 27th some of the most interesting poets and poet-critics in the country (and a few from the UK) will talk about sports and poetry — what it is to do something really well and what it is to risk failure on the world’s largest stage. We’ll hear about archery and synchronized swimming, boxing and basketball. We’ll have coverage of what we’ll be calling “The Ghost Sports,” the sports that used to be in the Olympics and aren’t any more, because I suppose I can understand why we don’t play baseball at the Games but I am bamboozled by the fact that we don’t play cricket.