Marianne Moore: Poetry

June 6, 2016

Muhammad Ali and Moore

Filed under: Poem Sources — by moore123 @ 4:35 pm

Moore and Cassius Clay, as the boxer was then known, at Toots Shor’s restaurant, New York City, in 1966. On the Vanity Fair blog for June 5, 2016, Sports Illustrated editor Terry McDonnell writes that George Plimpton had introduced The Champ, in 1966, “to the great poet Marianne Moore, who was 79 at the time. George had written about how they had agreed to write a poem together and Mrs. Moore said, ‘We will call it “A Poem on the Annihilation of Ernie Terrell.” Let us be serious but not grim.’ It had gone very well . . . .”

In 1963, Moore agreed to write liner notes for Clay’s verse album for Columbia Records, I Am the Greatest! She said in part: “At a crucial moment–rather often indeed–altitude is saved by a hair from being the flattest, peanuttiest, unwariest of boastings; saved might one say with Shakespeare, by ‘one of Caesar’s hairs.'” (Complete Prose, 659)

I Am the Greatest

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