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Can one be a fan of both poetry and sports?

On Superbowl Sunday there were two excellent poetry readings scheduled in Toronto at the same time as the big game, which leads me to believe that in the minds of many people, sports and literature are incongruous interests. Me, I decided to forgo poetry for sports and watched the Steelers defeat Seattle. Before that I watched the Canadiens defeat the Flyers and before that Chelsea defeat Liverpool. During slow moments in the action I read Matt Robinson’s poetic ode to hockey, no cage contains a stare that well.

The poems have a fluid grace: “it’s a taut, swirling music of legs / churning up ice.” They elucidate upon the heartache of losing: “towards the centre circle / to concede. their hands less purposeful now; a limp collection / of weathered flags in the stark, still windless / day that is the end of overtime.”

This is a strong book of poems, not only for those rare poetic sports fans, but also to those who would have chosen a poetry reading over Superbowl XL. (Vincent Ponka)

by Matt Robinson, $16.95, 60 pgs, ECW Press, 2120 Queen St. E., Suite 200 Toronto, ON, M4E 1E2 ecwpress.com

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