75. Advice From A Speedskater: Priscila Uppal

Uppal has a number of fun poems about the Olympics. She’s a poet-in-residence for the Canadian Athletes Now Fund (CAN-Fund), as well as a poet and professor at York University. You can read more about her and her poetry here.

Below is a sample of her Olympic poetry. As I wrote in my last post, such events inspire at the moment, but is it art? What is its lasting value? The notion of patronage–so long the fuel of poetry–seems like selling out in these days of poetic snobbery. Still, I find Uppal’s poems light-yet-intriguing. Her other Olympic posts are similarly fun, like watching the Olympics on a gray Sunday with your three year old.

Oh, and teachers might find “If My Lower Were a Snowboarder” humorous, but keep it from the kids.

Advice from a Speed Skater
Priscila Uppal

Stay low to the ground.
Pass on the inside.
Beware of those who get too close, too fast.
Beware of trips.
Be your own machine.
Be your own speed demon.
Grow a second skin,
not necessarily a thick skin.
Everything that’s ever happened
will happen again, probably
within seconds.
Trust time—you don’t
have the luxury of watching the clock.
When they need it, give
friends a strong push.

At the end of life,
stick your foot out.
Better yet, kick.


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