Culture & Conversation

A literary knockout

Joey Vegas at his British Masters title win.

Joey Vegas at his British Masters title win.

Boxe et littérature” was the title of the Blue Metropolis May 1st panel. A little disconcerting for those who do not wish to be thought of as obtuse and simple-minded. For them, boxing and literature are two peas that are never to share the same pod.

With my limited French, reviewing such an event felt as deceptive as the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. As the event drew closer, so did this reviewer’s apprehensions, including wondering whether anxiety disorders are genetic.

Seated among individuals likelier to be found at libraries than at boxing gyms, the event both overwhelmed and inspired.

It began with stage actor Jocelyn Lagarrigue’s self-introduction in the manner of a ringside announcer and continued with readings from legendary boxing literature, screenings of the renowned Muhammed Ali versus Joe Frazier bout, and boxing demonstrations with a young man who I’m convinced is the illegitimate child of actor Andy Garcia.

Combined with the Mozart in the background, this left us all in a soundless awe. The space was left beautiful with no room for fear. I was sold. My sense of contentment was certainly not due to a better understanding of French, but rather from something more meaningful. Life, with its uncertainties, can be painful. But when a writer reveals himself through words, or a boxer steps boldly into a ring, they each display whole-hearted courage.

Individuals facing their fears head-on relieve readers and viewers of their own fears and self-doubts. This is why boxing and literature really do match up in the ring.

The Blue Metropolis Festival runs until May 4th.  Consult their website for more information.

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PHOTO: Charles Brewer, Wikimedia Commons


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