First day of 4th grade, c. 1990
- Awards: Distinguished Scholar of Ancient Curses (Stanford Egyptology Summer Camp)
- Career Goal: Parapsychologist
- Favorite music: Bette Midler
- Hobbies: Climbing trees, writing and directing plays about tragic orphans (translation: holding neighborhood kids hostage & throwing tantrums), reading about orphans, floating in the neighborhood pool pretending to be a marooned orphan, anything having to do with orphans, really
- Favorite books: Anne of Green Gables, Les Miserables
- Crush: probably a long-dead fictional french orphan
Guillame Apollinaire, Un Terrible Boxeur
(translation: Terrible boxer boxing with his memories and his thousand desires.)
On (Poetry and) Boxing by Jennifer L. Grotz
I almost never remember who wins a fight. That is, I will for a week or two, but even two months later, I won’t. I am the same with novels, especially the ones I love most: I never remember the ending. This is not how my father watches sports — he remembers individual plays and highlights, he remembers dates, he remembers scores. I remember sensations and details, but not the useful ones. I remember the look of exhaustion on a boxer’s face in the corner between rounds, for instance. Or whether my own palms were sweaty by the end just from watching.
Oates hypothesizes that “the habitual attraction of serious writers to boxing […] is the sport’s systematic cultivation of pain in the interests of a project, a life-goal,” i.e. the publication of a poem or book. “That which is ‘public’ is but the final stage in a protracted, arduous, grueling, and frequently despairing period of preparation.” Wallace Stevens called poetry “a violence from within that protects us from a violence without,” that is, “something that presses back against the pressure of reality.”
Which brings me to the second thing that boxing has taught me as a poet, which is to acknowledge and honor what I often refer to as duality, but is more accurately understood in this context as drama. “Every talent must unfold itself in fighting,”Oates writes, quoting Nietzsche. ‘That which is creative must create itself,” I say, quoting Keats.
Sad; so sad, those smokey-rose, smokey-mauve evenings of late autumn, sad enough to pierce the heart. The sun departs the sky in winding sheets of gaudy cloud; anguish enters the city, a sense of the bitterest regret, a nostalgia for things we never knew, anguish of the turn of the year, the time of impotent yearning, the inconsolable season.
— Angela Carter, Black Venus