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Cover of Bodies Built for Game edited by Natalie Diaz
October 2019
University of Nebraska Press

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Bodies Built for Game

The Prairie Schooner Anthology of Contemporary Sports Writing
Edited by: 
Natalie Diaz
Hannah Ensor

Sport has always been central to the movements of both the nation-state and the people who resist that nation-state. Think of the Roman Colosseum, Jesse Owens’ four gold-medal victories in the 1936 Nazi Olympics, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s protest of the 1968 Olympics, and the fallout Colin Kaepernick suffered as a result of his recent sideline protests. Sport is a place where the body and the mind are the most dangerous because they are allowed to be unified as one energy.

"Bodies Built for Game" brings together poems, essays and stories that challenge our traditional ideas of sport and question the power structures that athletics enforce. What is it that drives us to athletics? What is it that makes us break our own bodies or the bodies of others as we root for these unnatural and performed victories? Featuring contributions from a diverse group of writers, including Hanif Abdurraqib, Fatimah Asghar, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Louise Erdrich, Toni Jensen, Ada Limón, Tommy Orange, Claudia Rankine, Danez Smith, and Maya Washington this book challenges America by questioning its games.


Natalie Diaz is an associate professor in the creative writing program at Arizona State University, where she holds the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry in the Department of English.