Sunday, January 8, 2012

August Wilson, the poet

Long before he was a renowned playwright, August Wilson was a published poet. His writings appeared in one of the leading black arts era publishing venues, Black World.

One of Wilson's poems "Muhammad Ali," published in the 1972 issue of the magazine, pays tribute to the revered boxing champion. "Muhammad Ali is a lion," the poem opens, and goes on to note that Ali is a lion "who breaks the back of the wind / Who climbs to the end of the rainbow with three steps / and devours the gold."

The Ali of Wilson's poem is a legendary figure capable of supernatural feats. In Wilson's poem, Ali's "fists are bullets," his "chest is a drum," and "he carries the sun in his hand." 

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