Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fight

I would normally put up a link on Friday, but this is such a soaring, gripping piece of writing that I'm going to mention it now instead.

If you're not familiar with James Baldwin (1924-1987), he was an American poet, essayist, and playwright. He was tremendously influential, and his writing is concentrated and powerful. I was fortunate to read his poetry a long time ago, and I still remember the effect it had on me. Still does.

Anyway, in 1963, James Baldwin was sent to Chicago to write a story about the Floyd Patterson-Sonny Liston fight. Back when boxing was still influential, all kinds of non-sportswriters were sent to write about boxing matches.

What emerged from this assignment is simply one of the most utterly memorable essays ever, written with an incomparable rhythm. Anyone who loves words and how writers put them together must begin reading immediately.

Here you go: The Fight: Patterson vs. Liston.

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