Sport and poetry in history


This video, in Spanish, is about poets Pablo Neruda and Nicolás Guillén.

From London daily The Morning Star:

2,000 years of poetry and the sporting world

(Tuesday 19 December 2006)

ANDY CROFT and SUE DYMOKE

ANDY CROFT and SUE DYMOKE reveal how the world of sport has provided inspiration and provoked contempt among poets.

MUHAMMAD Ali used to write it. George Best used to read it.

Many sportsmen and women have been compared to it. But, then, sport and poetry have always run along well together.

The original Greek games had their origins over 2,000 years ago in poetic and musical competition.

Poets wrote odes to the winners of the games at Delphi, Corinth, Nemea and Olympus [Olympia].

The first marathon runner Pheidippides is celebrated in Herodotus. Homer spent an entire book of The Odyssey describing the Phaeacian games.

Shelley, Wordsworth [see also here], Keats and Coleridge wrote about climbing.

Byron and Swinburne celebrated swimming in verse.

Morris and Houseman wrote poems about running. William Carlos Williams wrote about baseball.

Nicolas Guillen wrote about boxing.

As late as 1948, the modern Olympics included medals for poetry.

In Britain, however, for much of the 20th century, poetry and sport seemed to inhabit wholly different worlds.

Yeats dismissed those who, instead of pursuing Beauty, “run hither and thither in some foolish sport.”

Kipling characterised the English as a decadent people who had “contented their souls/With the flannelled fools at the wicket or the muddied oafs at the goals.”

History of rugby: here.

London Olympics and trade union rights: here.

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