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Wimbledon's first poet-in-residence is ready to rhyme

June 16, 2010 |  3:13 pm

Apparently there is one thing that has been missing from the grand two-week event known as Wimbledon.

Poetry. Of course, that isn't entirely true, but the folks who make sure Wimbledon happens without a hitch have reached out to one Matt Harvey, British humorist and a self-described performance poet. And he takes his official position as the All England Club's first writer-in-residence seriously.  

"I plan to publish a poem a day," he told Helen Gilbert on the official Wimbledon website. "I'm going to write more about Wimbledon the event than the matches. I'm going to write about the grass, umpires, people having their first Wimbledon strawberries, line judges, daydreams, pressure, Fred Perry's statue, the roof, the falcon and the queue."

Poetry is not new to Wimbledon; a passage from Rudyard Kipling's "If" is inscribed above the players' entrance to Centre Court.

-- Debbie Goffa

An example of Harvey's work, courtesy of the Guardian newspaper:

The Grandest of Slams

Excuse me. I'm sorry. I speak as an
Englishman.
For the game of lawn tennis there's no
better symbol than Wimbledon,
The place where the game's flame was
sparked and then kindled in,
Where so many spines have sat straight
and then tingled in
Wimbledon,
Where strawberries and cream have
traditionally been sampled in,
Kids' eyes have lit up and their cheeks
have been dimpled in
Wimbledon,
Where tough tennis cookies have
cracked and then crumbled in,
Top seeds have stumbled, have
tumbled, been humbled in
Wimbledon,
Where home-grown heroes' hopes have
swelled up and then dwindled in
Wimbledon.
The Grand Slams' best of breed – it's the
whizz, it's the biz,
The temple where physics expresses
its fizz.
There's one word for tennis and that
one word is
Wimbledon.

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