Wimbledon appoints a Poet-in-residence…now, that’s tennis!

by Anna Blanch on May 19, 2010

Sport, including Grand Slam Tennis, often evokes a powerful emotional response from player and spectator alike. For some Wimbledon is akin to a religious experience – a pilgrimage to a sacred place. I was intrigued then to hear that Wimbledon had called a muse, a scribe, to reflect upon and wax lyrical about the spectacle and marvel of the 2010 Championships.
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The Wimbledon Tennis Championships has appointed Matt Harvey as official poet after the Wimbledon Law Tennis Museum and the Poetry Trust collaborate to inaugurate a new tradition of a Poet-in-residence during the Lawn Tennis Grand Slam event.

Matt Harvey will write a poem each day during the two-week of the Championships to be held in June at the fabled All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in south-west London.The poems will be published online in text and podcast form, be broadcast over twitter and recited live, by Harvey, to spectators during the tournament. He’s said to be preparing to write about anything relating to the Tournament and the spectacle that surrounds the event – it could be anything from the “strawberries and cream to racquet strings” as well as the players and spectators.

Wimbledon teamed up with the Poetry Trust to create the role after the concept was proposed by the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. Museum curator Honor Godfrey said: “We are always examining different ways of interpreting the championships and this year the club agreed that having an official Championships Poet would provide a novel and nteresting way of doing this.”

Mr Harvey has already published his first poem in his role as 2010 Championships Poet titled Grandest of Slams. The podcast can be found here. You can even subscribe to the RSS feeds of the daily podcast if that takes your fancy.

Image of Matt Harvey: Graham Fudger at Poetry Trust
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Anna Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD student in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland.

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