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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | November 20, 2019

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The Poetry in Parkour

Matthew Spasaro

Although Parkour and Poetry don’t make the most obvious of bedfellows, writer Tim Sinclair propels us into a world of gravity defying revelry in his latest book Run.

Chief protagonist and social outcast Dee leads the standard small town, rat-on-a-wheel existence until he meets the mysterious Trench. Growing up in France, Trench exposes Dee to a world of Parkour, a world where you can do things you never imagined. A world that everyday life does not encourage. Running and leaping from one platform to the next, it doesn’t take long for Dee to be involved in a far greater race of his own.

Tim Sinclair Run

“I first heard about Parkour eight years ago,” explains Sinclair. “It just sounded cool and fun, structured play that grown ups were allowed to do. My early understandings had a lot to do with the flashy stuff, the Parkour porn. It’s just so absurdly photogenic. You take an expert Traceur (Parkour practitioner) and a skilled photographer and you have pure visual excitement.”

parkour-pk-freerunning-traceurs-24

It is had to disagree, with Parkour representing something of a metaphor for not only freedom of the body, but also freedom of the mind. Traceur’s duck and weave through urban environments with a liquid fluidity that is very easy on the eye.

Coming from a primarily poetry background, the Adelaide native Sinclair delivers a read that flows with word play and text shape through the use of Concrete Poetry; a typographical arrangement of words in which the visual elements are as important as the text.

“Once you get to a certain point in the making of a story, you really do start to see the world with a different set of eyes. 

“What I was hoping to capture in my concrete type poetry was something of the movement, the energy, the shape and excitement of Parkour. The one thing that I was really determined not to do in writing this book, was to create a visual poetry that was going to slow down the narrative.”

Concrete Poetry

As Dee grows more comfortable in his new skin, he opens up the valve capped on his life, allowing more people into his moonlighting world. One of those characters is Jess, a headstrong, analytical, bull-by-the-horns type of girl who has no idea about the ride she is about to embark on.

Although no Traceur, Jess understands exactly what captivates Dee: “If we knew what we were doing, there’d be no point in doing it. If you get the script at the start of the story you’d just go through life delivering the lines.”

This was a project Sinclair threw himself into headfirst. Going to Parkour lessons of his own, he confesses to even having the physio bills to prove it.

During his journey he uncovered a respect and love for a form of art and expression that was the metamorphosis of an eventual novel.

Traceur's

“Parkour is not a team sport,” he states. “I don’t even consider it a solo sport. It’s more of a discipline, the mind and the body in the way most martial arts are. It’s absolutely about determining your own destiny in ways only you are capable of and ways you can only imagine for yourself.”

“There is self reliance to be learnt, there are life lessons to be learnt, there is great danger and great joy. Traceur’s already have super powers, all you have to do now is throw in a love triangle and you’ve got the plot.”