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"Imagining a more just and peaceful world": the poetry of Irène Mathieu

The Sillerman First Book Prize is now open through December 1st! To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process.

3:33 Sports Short #58 // Learning to Fall by Jennifer McGuiggan

We started my very first practice with a falling drill. Knowing how to fall correctly is a key part of roller derby. It's not that you want to fall, but you have to accept that it's going to happen, and you need to know how to do it as safely and painlessly as possible. Plus—and this is the real kicker—you need to not fear it. This mental aspect is much harder to master than the physical aspects of falling safely.

Strap eight wheels onto your feet, and everything in your body and mind screams at you: No! For the love of your beautiful bones, don't fall! You must overcome this. You have to trust that all of this gear you're wearing will protect if you just follow the instructions of how to move your body.

3:33 Sports Short #57 // Translations by Gabrielle Bellot

When I rode a skateboard, hope seemed to live all around me, seemed to twinkle in my hair like fireflies. I was younger back then, and I had not as yet released the woman inside me, the girl I had long known I was but had felt I must deny to live, but I still existed in a world of pure hope, sometimes, when I got on my board. I would find a deserted place on my college campus in the United States, a sea from my home in the Caribbean where I had grown up hearing that skateboards were ‘for white boys,’ and I would try to become a ballerina of the pavement. I could hardly even ollie, the most basic trick in street skating, but what I wanted more than anything was to be able to freestyle on the board like Rodney Mullen. It seemed beautiful, the lyrical-made-physical, to do the strange tricks my friends who skated did not think to attempt, the primos, truckstands, walk-the-dogs, manuals.

"The Poems Fell Off My Grief": an interview with D.M. Aderibigbe

The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets is now open through December 1st! To celebrate, Book Prize Coordinator Katie Schmid Henson talks with emerging writers about the book publication process. This week, an interview with poet D.M. Aderibigbe about family, the body, and the publication of his award-winning chapbook, In Praise of Our Absent Father, available in the Eight New-Generation African Poets: Tatu box set.
Describe the process of making your chapbook manuscript. How did you conceive of the poems together?
First of all, thank you for having me. For a start, my chapbook is a room cut out of an apartment—my full-length is the apartment in this case. As for how the poems came out: the poems fell off my grief.

3:33 Sports Short #56 // On Favorite Sports by Libby Kalmbach

“Chess boxing,” is what my brother Bob says without hesitation when asked what his favorite sport is. Chess boxing, for the uninitiated, is a hybrid competition in which two people alternate rounds of chess with rounds of boxing.

“Basketball,” is what I say if you ask me. Basketball, for the uninitiated, is a sport in which teams of five players compete against each other in trying to score the most points by launching a rubber ball through a hoop mounted about 10 feet off the ground.

Chess boxing was invented by Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh. I can’t say for sure that it’s the only sport invented by a performance artist, but it just might be.

Basketball was invented by Canadian medical doctor James Naismith. I don’t know whether it is the only sport invented by a medical doctor. It seems entirely possible that it is not.

Bob was not very interested in sports as a child.

3:33 Sports Short #55 // Mind Games by Amaris Ketcham

I started fencing about a year ago. In addition to learning a thousand and one new French vocabulary words, that is possible to avoid being immediately stabbed every single time I squat en guarde, I have learned some of the standard ways that fencers talk about the sport to non-fencers. The most common comparison they use? “Fencing is like a physical game of chess.”

Now, I admit that I don’t know much about chess, but I assume fencers mean both have a strategic and a tactical element. Strategy is about long-term thinking, setting up positions for certain advantages later. You can watch how someone plays and devise exactly how you’ll win when you play them next.

3:33 Sports Short #54 // Connections by Vandana Khanna

Thousands of miles away and 10 hours into a new day, my grandfather would call me, when his phone line was working, to talk McEnroe and Connors, Lendl and Amritraj. Tennis was the one of the few things a nine year old in America and a 60 year old in India had in common. We would watch the matches separated by oceans and time zones and continents, me on the small boxed TV in our cramped living room in Virginia, he on his first-ever color TV in Greater Kailash. Over the random static and echoed voices of a typical transatlantic phone call, we would talk shots and drama.

3:33 Sports Short #53 // The Last Shot by Ira Sukrungruang

The rain season in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Thunderclouds obstruct the northern mountains. It is as if they’ve disappeared from earth, and the ancient scholars were right: the world is flat. The wind picks up. Palms sway like dancing fingers. Litter scatters across tarred pavements. And though the city speaks in rumbles and horns, the wind roars over every sound. 

It’s a strange day to be at a driving range near the airport and mall, a busy district of Chiang Mai. The driving range is a hundred yards long; only wedges are allowed. An awning shelters us from the weather bubbling and boiling above.

Contributor Spotlight on Sharon Olds

by Danielle Pringle
Sharon Olds

I may have a mild obsession with the HBO series Game of Thrones. All right, maybe it’s more than mild, but I’m positive I’m not the only one. While I’m completely addicted to the show, cringe-worthy goriness and all, as a female viewer I was disappointed that for the longest time, it was a very one-sided love affair with the human body—eager to gaze upon the female body, naked and exposed, and leave the male parts safely out of view. Add to that the repeated violence, often sexual, done to female characters, and, well, it was hard to celebrate the show’s take on sex and the human body. My viewing group and I would lament this problematic and unequal portrayal in the show, so common in TV and Hollywood. However, change came in the latest season, when, near the end of May as summer dawned, the internet was abuzz with talk of the full-frontal male nudity scene.

3:33 Sports Short #52 // Two measures of 90 feet by Christine Pivovar

After front page photos in The Kansas City Star

1. October 29, 2014

Alex Gordon’s hands crossed atop a tar-smeared helmet. The once and future captain, held up and halted. Smudge of ruddy dirt on his right hip and above the letters over his scapula. Muscles taut in the neck, downturned in front of a wall of blue-clad faces. Cinderella on the front stoop with broken glass in her hands.


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