Slushing through the Snow | Review of “Winter Sport: Poems” by Priscila Uppal (2010) Mansfield Press

As the airwaves begin to bombard us with scenes from the Winter Olympic Games, from Sochi, Russia, it may be time to review what exactly it is like to partake in those events. And Winter Sport: Poems by Pricila Uppal, gives great examples of the endurance involved in those events. 


Winter Sport Abecedarian (page 35)


Amazing bodies congregate:

daredevils emancipating future

glory, hearts intensely juggling

kamikaze leanings, miraculous

notions of perfection, quasi-

religious superstitions towards

ultimate velocity, weathered

x-rays yielding zen.

Uppal was the poet-in-residence for Canadian Athletes Now during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Her words illustrate well the sports we are all about to watch on our television sets in the next month.


Cross-Country (Page 42)

When the moment comes

you no longer feel your

legs, or the sun or the lips of

your boots, try not to panic –

the self still exists though in airy

collapsible form like the perfect

party invitation, and you move

without will or energy or pull or

perhaps even consciousness

(although how would I know

at this point since I’m telling you

I’m a slip of paper in the wind);

the hills and trails, mountains

and snow coalesce around

you, happy in complacency

and chameleon colours attuned

to your white mood. Soon the tracks

will leap up and break you out of this

careless condition – the sprint is on-

dashing you to the destination address

where friends will be waving hello

as you break the seal of goodbye.


Uppal’s words makes a reader understand what an athlete goes through as they compete. It is very easy just to sit back and watch, but to imagine what it is like to participate takes a whole new level of imagination.


The Ice Dance Is Perfect (Page 68)

Imagine your body

never complained of

pressure: cracks

breaks, pain.


Your legs are your

childhood – feel them,

but only for what they will

become: your arms protect your

family – no matter how far-flung,

knowledge of home

circles the ice.


Your back, my darling,

your back, surrender to it –

like the dream lover you

never dared approach

in the light, or like that god

you once believed in who

now reaches for you.

Winter Sport: Poems by Priscila Uppal is a perfect companion to watching this year’s Winter Olympics. Her words clearly allow the reader to understand what endurance in the sports is like.

Priscila Uppal’s WordPress blog

Link to Mansfield Press’ page for “Winter Sport: Poems”



2 thoughts on “Slushing through the Snow | Review of “Winter Sport: Poems” by Priscila Uppal (2010) Mansfield Press

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