Game, set and match - Is poet up to scratch?

Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:05am EDT
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By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Performance poet Matt Harvey has the perfect captive audience -- he will be declaiming to the queues at Wimbledon over the next two weeks.

The first ever official poet in residence at the world's most famous tennis tournament, Harvey cannot wait to write about everything from sampling strawberries and cream to sitting in the umpire's chair.

Relishing the literary challenge, he said "The queues cannot go anywhere. I will be out there inflicting my poems on them."

Harvey is no stranger to performing live and under pressure. He has to serve up instant poems about the news on a topical weekly BBC radio show.

But he does confess to pre-tournament nerves before embarking on his most public and ambitious gig at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

"It is very nerve-wracking. I have had a lot of healthy anxiety. I have been scribbling furiously," he said after taking a crash course in Wimbledon rituals at this most genteel of tournaments in this bastion of Middle England.

"I got to sit in the umpire's chair on Center Court and will be writing from experience. I got to meet the head groundsman and attended training sessions for the ball boys and ball girls," he said.

Harvey will even be waxing lyrical about the resident falcon released every day to dive bomb and deter irreverent pigeons who might be tempted to disturb players on the hallowed Center Court.   Continued...