Thank you to everyone who submitted to the Summer Sport Poetry Competition. As in elite athletics, the many talented competitors made judging challenging. How many points for technical merit vs. artistic impression? How to inch one poem in front of another without the aid of a photo finish? Thank you for the array of sports to choose from, including poems on synchronized swimming, football, golf, tennis, rowing, running, racewalking, baseball, basketball, fencing, ultimate frisbee, and more.
In the end, I decided on an array of approaches to the subject of sport:an enthusiastic fan, a reflective competitor, a novel view of sports equipment, and a found poem.
There is certainly enough material here to warrant further sports poetry competitions, perhaps a special issue of a magazine or literary journal devoted to sports poetry or even an anthology. Congratulations to the winners. - Priscila Uppal
Below are the four winners of the 2012 Summer Sport Poetry Competition. All four will be receiving prize packs, and the poem that took gold will appear in the upcoming November 2012 print issue of the LRC.
GOLD (Grand Prize Winner): “Summer Sport” by Heather Davidson
It’s you, weightlifter, who could bring me
Persian gold when you win and this is
the only good anyone knows. A static
acrobat, an iron tiger, a juggler in pose.
Anvils and axles greased with sweat,
a face more set in scowl than skin.
The barbell for your body and half of
someone else’s, yours again. Weight is
what you train past, a grip like crushing
eggs and balance through the thighs.
Clean and jerk, glass holds back the world.
I want another trick, what else can you do.
Crouch and animals run through
the deltoid, the triceps. Bounce the bar
off your chest, hold it up and you live,
there is nothing they can do.
SILVER: A haiku by kjmunro
golden maple leaves
on the backyard trampoline
BRONZE: “Towards a Definition of Sport” by David Huebert and “No Man’s Land” by Josie Di Sciascio-Andrews
“Towards a Definition of Sport”
words overheard in Canadian pubs and locker rooms
Soccer is not a sport.
It’s just a bunch of long-haired pretty boys
with bright shoes and fancy socks,
diving every time they get touched.
If there’s no body contact it’s not a sport.
Rugby’s not a sport, it’s a bunch of
ogres rolling around in the mud.
Football is basically just a version of war.
I think the guy who won the gold
in dressage is like ninety years old.
Baseball is not a sport, it’s a pastime.
Golf’s not a sport, it’s a leisure activity.
I think they should rename boxing
facepunching and see how many kids sign up.
We’re watching beach volleyball,
or as I like to call it, “tits and ass.”
Table tennis, seriously?
Synchronized swimming, really?
When did they take bowling out of the Olympics?
Maybe there should be more guns
so the Americans could get even more medals.
We should probably have hockey in the summer too.
“No Man’s Land”
There is a certain comfort in the symmetry
Of striking pressurized air
Of optic yellow felt
As it is precisely loosed
From the left hand’s grip,
While with well thought out,
Taut-weaved racket precision,
A backhanded right one smashes it across the court
A world over the net at center
Stretching its’ equator to the tentative,
Invisible dragons lurking in the sidelines.
Adrenaline primes you into that zone
Of brain-body synchrony
Where you anticipate all angles
Of your opponent’s rebuttals.
Simultaneously you shadow
Her moves as you rally, lunge
Your weight diagonally through air
Onto the gravity of rubberized concrete
To block all coups
Re-entering the dharma
Of a frantic little Dutch boy,
Should any hint of loss overtake
You. Your country.
One fault, like one drop of ocean
Beginning to stream through some tiny crack
In the solid wall of your well rehearsed,