'Lifting,' And Lifted By, Words Poet Ouyang Yu imagines an Olympic event in which he lifts up just one extraordinary word. "The magic of the word is that, when well lifted, it has the power to transform," Yu says.

'Lifting,' And Lifted By, Words

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And this morning on our program, we're kicking off our own Poetry Games. There were poetry events in the ancient Greek games, and even in the modern games, up until the 1948 London Games. The Olympics actually handed out medals in poetry competitions. Now, in the long tradition of celebrating the lyricism of both the body and the mind, MORNING EDITION has commissioned five poets from different corners of the world, asking each to write a poem about the Olympics and its remarkable athletes. We're asking you to vote at npr.org on who should win the gold.


MONTAGNE: Our first entry comes from Ouyang Yu, who's representing two continents in the competition. Born in China, the poet and translator has spent the last two decades in Australia. His brief poem is inspired by the sport of weightlifting.

MARK STAUFER: "Lifting," by Ouyang Yu. (Reading) For years, I have been dreaming of turning writing into a sport in the Olympic Games that is called, tentatively, Wordlifting, in which I'd give my simplest performance by lifting the lightest and the liveliest word, love - till it flies, lifting me, weightless, into a sky of loving eyes.

MONTAGNE: Ouyang Yu's poem, "Lifting," read here by Mark Staufer. Tomorrow, we'll be hearing Mexico's entry into MORNING EDITION's Poetry Games, "Olimpicamente." If you'd like to read all the poems in competition now, just go to npr.org. There you can also vote on your favorite, and we'll announce the winner next week.

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