Bodies Built for Game


Bodies Built for Game

The Prairie Schooner Anthology of Contemporary Sports Writing

Edited by Natalie Diaz
Hannah Ensor, Associate Editor

402 pages


October 2019


$26.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2019


$26.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

October 2019


$26.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Sport has always been central to the movements of both the nation-state and the people who resist that nation-state. Think of the Roman Colosseum, Jesse Owens’s four gold-medal victories in the 1936 Nazi Olympics, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s protest at the 1968 Olympics, and the fallout Colin Kaepernick suffered as a result of his recent protest on the sidelines of an NFL game. Sport is a place where the body and the mind are the most dangerous because they are allowed to be unified as one energy.

Bodies Built for Game brings together poems, essays, and stories that challenge our traditional ideas of sport and question the power structures that athletics enforce. What is it that drives us to athletics? What is it that makes us break our own bodies or the bodies of others as we root for these unnatural and performed victories? Featuring contributions from a diverse group of writers, including Hanif Abdurraqib, Fatimah Asghar, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Louise Erdrich, Toni Jensen, Ada Limón, Tommy Orange, Claudia Rankine, Danez Smith, and Maya Washington, this book challenges America by questioning its games.


Author Bio

Natalie Diaz is an associate professor of English and the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. She is the author of When My Brother Was an Aztec and of the forthcoming book Post Colonial Love Poem. In 2018 she received a MacArthur Fellowship. Hannah Ensor is the assistant director of the Hopwood Awards Program at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Love Dream with Television.


"Natalie Diaz, along with associate editor Hannah Ensor, has provided another valuable collection of critical commentary on salient issues pertaining to identity and power structures in Bodies Built for Game: The Prairie Schooner Anthology of Contemporary Sports Writing. As a celebrated poet and essayist as well as former professional female athlete in the American sports industry, Diaz (Mojave), is an excellent authority on these themes."—Tara Keegan, American Indian Quarterly

Table of Contents

Introduction: Bodies Built for Game    
    Natalie Diaz
In Defense of Allen Iverson    
    Hanif Abdurraqib
Bolting into Throat    
    Patricia Smith
last summer of innocence    
    Danez Smith
American Pharoah    
    Ada Limón
Takes Enemy    
    Shann Ray
Professional Wrestling Holds    
    Ashaki Jackson
He takes me    
    Paul Tran
The Hit Man    
    Stacey Waite
Psych Ward Visitation Hour    
    b: william bearhart
The Wars    
    Louise Erdrich
After Simone Manuel’s Olympic Victory in the Women’s 100m Freestyle    
    Lauren Espinoza
In the outfield, daydreaming    
    francine j. harris
The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence    
    Claudia Rankine
Serena Williams Walks    
    Kwame Dawes
Boxing Out    
    Adrian Matejka
    Joel Salcido
Aaron Hernandez is my brother    
    Randall J. Tyrone
The Church of Michael Jordan    
    Jeffrey McDaniel
Built For It    
    Lisa Olstein
Federer as Irreligious Experience    
    Porochista Khakpour
prayer when knees give    
    Nate Marshall
Days of ’95 II    
    Shane Lake
    Izzy Wasserstein
To Prevent Hypothermia    
    Fatimah Asghar
Give and Go    
    Toni Jensen
Perfect Form    
    Kamilah Aisha Moon
Black Boxers: A Brief History    
    Benjamin Krusling
The Cock Fight Place    
    Alberto Ríos
A Note on Process    
    Meghan O’Rourke
How Are You Feeling    
    Ana Božičević
The Wrestler    
    Kazim Ali
War Training: An Athletics    
    Nomi Stone
A Boy & His Mother Play Dead at Dawn    
    Michael Wasson
As If We Were Called    
    Reginald Dwayne Betts
    Gary Jackson
From Heaven, My Father Sends His Regrets    
    Cornelius Eady
Russian Sport    
    Vera Pavlova, translated by Ilya Kaminsky and Valzhyna Mort
Feel for the Water    
    Christian Campbell
I reckon, a latitude    
    Asiya Wadud
A Perfect Game    
    Yesenia Montilla
    Kaveh Akbar
At Eighty-Two My Father Is Learning to Walk Again    
    Esther Lin
    Tomás Q. Morin
    Aaron Smith
Losing the 440-Yard Dash    
    Afaa M. Weaver
Sports Analogy    
    David Tomas Martinez
Why to Run Racks    
    Lisa Fay Coutley
El Barril    
    James Thomas Stevens
Who Got This Far    
    Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela
Project Artifacts: Through the Banks of the Red Cedar    
    Maya Washington
La Llorona Runs Alone    
    Claudia D. Hernández
Alone in the Schoolyard at Dusk    
    Dorianne Laux
why i can’t play basketball anymore    
    Richard Vargas
The Condition of Being a Sports Fan    
    Sue Hyon Bae
Take Me Out    
    Iliana Rocha
Parking Lot Poem with Fernando Valenzuela    
    Matthew Lippman
Strike Indicator    
    Pamela Hart
Minor League Legend    
    Matthew Olzmann
Losing to the Invisible: An Ars Poetica    
    Traci Brimhall
High School Yoga    
    Kat Page    
Southpaw Skin the Gloves    
    Alicia Mountain
    Hannah Oberman-Breindel
    L. Lamar Wilson
Mudita World Peace    
    Hannah Ensor
At the gym, moments after I failed a squat attempt that would have been easy pre-sitting-induced pinched nerve    
    Candace Williams
Inside the City Walls    
    Norman Dubie
Diana Nyad as J. M. W. Turner    
    BK Fischer
game recognizes game    
    t’ai freedom ford
Off Sides    
    Susan Briante
The Chain    
    Elyse Fenton
Young Woman Wrestler    
    Tria Blu Wakpa
Self-Portrait with Ghost, Rising    
    Dean Rader
Infield Contrapuntal    
    Meg Day
Shots Missed    
    Celeste Adame
Sports History    
    Brett Fletcher Lauer
The Yo-Yo Heir’s Lament    
    Eugene Gloria
Stadium Mocs    
    Chip Livingston
Bad Love Affair    
    Joseph Millar
Ode to the Dream Shake    
    Ben Purkert
    Trevino Brings Plenty
The Sum of Our Doing    
    Holly M. Wendt
Who Holds the Stag’s Head Gets to Speak    
    Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Polaroid: Links    
    Stacey Lynn Brown
Of Competition or “And the sheeted dead did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets”    
    Brendan Constantine
Darkening the Belt    
    Anders Carlson-Wee
from Farewell to Soccer: Ninety-Minute-Long Stories    
    Valerio Magrelli translated from the Italian by Will Schutt
¡Sangre! ¡Sangre! ¡Sangre!    
    Nandi Comer
This Is Not an Essay about Wrestling, or If David Markson Loved the WWF Like I Did When I Was 12    
    John Findura
The Curtain    
    Ryan Black
Ladies’ Arm Wrestling Match at the Blue Moon Diner    
    Jenny Johnson
    Tommy Orange
Ghazal at the End of Hogpen Road    
    J. Scott Brownlee
Can We Have Our Ball Back?    
    Matthew Dickman
    Kevin Goodan
Productive Antagonisms    
    Saretta Morgan interviews Christina Olivares
The Rookie    
    January Gill O’Neil
Cross Country    
    Roger Reeves
Another Kind of Faith    
    Joaquín Zihuatanejo
Why Pam Hates Sprite and Sunflower Seeds    
    Alison Rollins
The Tribes    
    Chee Brossy
All the Flesh, Singing    
    Shivanee Ramlochan
Between Practice    
    Terrance Hayes
Source Acknowledgments    
List of Contributors