01 august 2012

Olympic Poet – Priscila Uppal


Courtesy of Priscila Uppal
Canada's Olympic Poet

She’ll catch your eye, but what she really wants is your ear!

The lady with the red-tinted hair, in two braids decorated with little Canadian flags, is in London, as Canada’s Olympic poet.

She’s following up on her stellar performance at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. She sang the praises of lugers and snow boarders, and her chronicles of the experience were published in a book called Winter Sports: Poems.

Carmel Kilkenny asked her what a wordsmith does at the Summer Olympic games?

Priscila Uppal is a professor of creative writing at Toronto’s York University most of the time, but when these summits of sport take place she wants to be right in the middle of the action.

The author of 9 books of poetry is challenging herself, drawing on the similar resources of endurance and skill to write two poems each day, and every second day, she publishes an article on the art inspired by summer sport. They’re called Artful Dispatches from the 2012 Summer Games. Her review of the novel, The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou, about a wrestler and a swimmer who have both qualified for the Olympics, is one example.

And Priscila knows victory. She’s among the few in London this year who knows what it takes to dive off a 5 metre board. Back in 2002, as a way to channel her fear of public speaking, Priscila Uppal took up diving. After 18 months, without having ever having jumped off the board, she dove successfully headfirst. She understands the bravery and fearlessness of divers. As she says, it’s truly poetry in motion.

Priscila Uppal’s daily poems can be found on the Canadian Athletes Now website

The Artful Dispatches can be found on the website of The Literary Review of Canada

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