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The World’s Shortest Poem and Muhammad Ali

As Black History Month begins today on National Poetry Day, it brings to mind how a little-known poem by Muhammad Ali became a contender for the world’s shortest poem.

Previously, the generally accepted holder of this title was poet Strickland Gillilan, that was until, Ali the greatest boxer of all time came along.

On the 4th of June in 1975 Ali was invited to do the commencement speech to 2,000 Harvard University students.

At the end there was a great roar then a student shouted out, ‘Give us a poem!’ and after the room had quietened down, Ali hit back with a two word rhyme — either ‘Me / We’ or ‘Me? / Whee!!’

But which one was it that he actually said? This literary punch-up is less Rumble in the Jungle, more Enunciation in the Graduation.

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