Filed Under:

'Olimpicamente': In Praise Of Feistiness And Big Feet

A poet and editor living in Brooklyn, Monica de la Torre was born in Mexico City. Her poem "Olimpicamente" is told in the voice of the Mexican taekwondo champion Maria del Rosario Espinoza, who was born in the village of La Brecha, in the state of Sinaloa, where her father was a fisherman. Though of limited means, her parents supported her passion for taekwondo, and in 2008 Espinoza fought her way to a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics. "I am," says the poet, "dumbfounded and positively moved by Maria del Rosario's improbable story."

Taekwondo was originally a Korean martial art, which inspired de la Torre to base her poem loosely on the three-line Korean poetic form, the sijo." 'Olimpicamente' is comprised of six linked sijos," she explains. "I saw a correspondence between the punching, kicking and parrying of a taekwondo practitioner and the way a sijo moves, apparently going in one direction but then taking an unexpected turn in the last line."

"In Mexico," says de la Torre, explaining her poem's title, "when someone does something brazen, we say the person behaved 'olimpicamente' — literally, and pardon the neologism, 'olympically.' The connotations of the term aren't necessarily positive, but by using it as the title of the poem, I wanted to put the type of behavior it refers to in a positive light. Had Maria del Rosario done everything social conventions dictated she do, she wouldn't be the flag bearer for the Mexican delegation at the London Olympics. Sijos were originally meant to be sung. I think of 'Olimpicamente' as a Korean-inflected Mexican corrido, telling the deeds of a revered and exemplary heroine."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Times Have Changed; What Should We Call 'Old People' ?

NPR's Ina Jaffe talks with Scott Simon about the struggle to find the right words to describe older people. Longevity and lifestyles have changed and the language hasn't kept up.
NPR

After Introducing Changes, Keurig Sales Continue To Fall

Despite America's high coffee consumption, Keurig reported disappointing sales this week. Even during its popular holiday selling period, the numbers haven't perked up in recent years.
NPR

Do Political TV Ads Still Work?

TV ads are a tried-and-true way for politicians to get their message out. But in this chaotic presidential primary, are they still effective?
NPR

Twitter Says It Has Shut Down 125,000 Terrorism-Related Accounts

The announcement comes just weeks after a woman sued Twitter, saying the platform knowingly let ISIS use the network "to spread propaganda, raise money and attract recruits."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.