Muhammad Ali is one of my heroes. I’ve read many books about him and watched quite a few documentaries. I admire him for his courage and his willingness to stand against the racist power structure of his time, at the cost of his fortune and his reputation. Today I finally watched The Trials Of Muhammad Ali, which came out in 2013. If you’re new to Ali and you’d like a solid overview of his life, particularly his religious and political life, this is a good place to start. Well edited and interesting. And if you, like me, are well versed in the Ali story, I think you’ll still find this entertaining and informative, as I did.
And of course you need to watch one of the great documentaries of all time, and probably the greatest boxing documentary, When We Were Kings.
Poet, teacher, author and Chicano activist Juan Felipe Herrera has collected some of his most provocative and autobiographical writing in this volume. These “undocuments” chronicle Herrera’s travels in the U.S. and Mexico, and his relentless search for the soul and story of a people.
Herrera’s poetry is shouted with an upraised fist at one moment, intoned with a somber brow the next. He has no illusions, but his best work is powered by a grand vision of the past and the future.
Some of the work is helped by a knowledge of Spanish, which I don’t possess. Even so, I had no trouble being caught up in the sound and spirit of Herrera’s writing.
We need more documentary poetry like this to capture the real history of this country, and of the peoples and cultures within it.