On the surface, the idea of a swimming anthology may seem all wet, but as with swimming itself, a whole lot more goes on beneath the surface than meets the eye. Laurel Blossom, a poet by trade, has assembled a remarkably eclectic group of writers that, one after another, builds a volume of short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that works together like a medley relay team unified by a single pursuit. The peripatetic George Plimpton dips his toes in for the preface to this "melange of stories, reminiscences, and accounts by various folk--some champions, some not--sporting, competing, whatever in swimming pools, bays, lakes, oceans" before handing off to the likes of, among others, Ray Bradbury, Maxine Kumin, John Cheever, Olympic gold medalists Dawn Fraser and Don Schollander, Jack London, Anne Sexton, and John Updike. The thought of reading the words of these fine writers should have you jumping eagerly into the deep end of the marvelous literary pool they've created. --Jeff Silverman
From Publishers Weekly
Though swimming is mentioned in books as ancient as The Odyssey, it's only much more recently that the activity has become a familiar, though not common, literary theme. And so just about all of the 46 stories, poems, essays, letters and book excerpts that comprise this splendid anthology date from the 20th century. Nonetheless, the selections made by Blossom, a poet (Any Minute), cover the waterfront, as it were, fulfilling her mission to "make the book as representative of the experience of swimming as possible." From familiar and established writers such as Cheever, Lessing, London, Sexton and Updike to lesser-knowns such as Jewelle Gomez and Linda Svendsen, and Olympic athletes with their accounts of medal-winning triumphs, each of the 45 contributors brings unique insights. Included are a black folk tale, a fantasy novel excerpt, accounts of the agony of long-distance swimming, gay and lesbian stories and some humor from Calvin Trillin. It's hard to imagine what's missing, other than the aquatic poetry of Raymond Carver. With a leisurely crawl, not a speed-stroke, readers will want to explore nearly every selection here.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.