Let the Barking and Biting Begin
Mitt Romney puts Seamus on top of the car.
("He liked it up there, and we weren't going far.")
Obama, in boyhood, while in Indonesia,
Once swallowed some dog meat without anesthesia.
Though dog lover's wouldn't be either man's base,
A dogfight seemed what was in store for the race.
And people were saying, "We wonder which dude'll
Emerge as the pit bull, and which as the poodle."
When Calvin Trillin, long-time New Yorker magazine writer, humorist, author of 30 books, and America's deadline poet, began thinking of a title for his verse book on the 2012 presidential race, he didn't have to ponder long. "Dogs were prominent right away," Trillin told the fan-filled crowd which packed Politics and Prose recently to hear him talk about his latest book Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse. Trillin may be America's deadline poet (he claims to be the only one and he's probably right), but his in-person persona is perfect comic deadpan, a cross between Bob Newhart and Bob Dole. And speaking of Bob Dole, Trillin says he always loved him as a candidate. Bob Dole. Old King Cole. Sauteed escarole.
In between cascades of high-brow and low-brow laughter, Trillin described his work as a long poem, "let's not be afraid of the word epic here," interrupted by shorter poems and what he calls pause prose.
Trillin, who produced a similar work in 2008, said initially he was fearful of the project because only the Republicans would be having a 2012 primary. But that concern soon evaporated when the GOP field began uttering some of the most inane remarks ever heard on the national stage. "I mean this was a field where Michelle Bachmann was actually leading in the polls," Trillin said. He immortalized Ms. Bachmann in his work by parodying the Paul McCartney/John Lennon tune "Michelle" (with apologies to the Beatles).
Michelle, our belle,
Thinks the gays will all be sent to hell.
One of the best titled short prose pauses of all-time is "Calixta Gingrich, Aware That Her Husband Has Cheated on and Then Left Two Wives Who Had Serious Illness, Tries Desperately to Make Light of a Bad Cough." Then there is the outrageously hilarious prose pause "President Romney Meets Other World Leaders at His First G-8 Summit," which creates the absurdity that ensues when Romney employs his strange, awkward habit of trying to guess nationalities and personal weights on the leaders of the world. When Trillin read the short piece, most of the Politics and Prose crowd convulsed in spasms of laughter.
Asked if he had any favorite political figures, Trillin quipped that he liked iambic characters such as Ross Perot or Herman "The Heminator" Cain. He also lamented that he used up many of his best rhymes for Obama (like slap your Momma) in his 2008 pieces. He also appears to have some strong feelings about at least one possible member of the 2016 field. "I always refer to Bill Clinton as the orange (as in no word rhymes with orange) candidate. As for Mrs. Clinton (the current favorite to run on the Democratic ticket), Hilary has strong points, but rhyming isn't one of them," Trillin said.
Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Like many of the authors who appear at Politics and Prose, Trillin is on an around-the-country tour to promote his latest work. And for famous authors like Trillin, that tour usually includes appearances on popular TV shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report. You can check out Trillin's recent performance on The Daily Show, by clicking here.
- ► 2014 (247)
- ► 2013 (241)
- Monkeys Grasp for the Moon
- Zoolights Make for Bright Nights
- Dining in DC: We, the Pizza
- Kennedy and King Coming to Newseum in 2013
- Dining in DC: Scion
- Very Like a Whale
- Will Hoge at Jammin' Java
- Ways to Keep Christmas Lasting a Little Longer
- Roy Lichtenstein: The Art World's Prince of Pop
- Dining in DC: The New Big Wong
- A Trip to the Moon
- Newtown: What Do You Say?
- The Impact of Social Media on Journalism
- Shame on the NRA
- Season's Greetings from Ronnie Spector
- Merry Tuba Christmas 2012
- Shock of the News
- The Presidential Race Goes to the Dogs
- Dining in DC: Ray's to the Third
- Spelunking in Downtown DC
- The Civil War and American Art
- A Look at the Wide World of Sports
- Season's Greetings from the U.S. Botanical Garden
- Celebrating the Repeal of Prohibition
- A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Monday Night Football
- Nomads and Networks
- Dining in DC: New Orleans Po Boy Shop
- The Tone Rangers
- ▼ December (28)
When Kwame Alexander started Virginia Tech University majoring in bio-tech, he was all set to become a doctor. But 2 developments in his s...
It began in the 1940s in the Spanish town of Brunol, where a band of young men engaged in a brawl grabbed tomatoes from a vegetable stand ...
This painting captures some of the the horror of WWI For Lowell Fry, the society-shattering and world-altering impacts of World War I a...
Welcome 2013. The beginning of a new year is always a great time for reflecting on the year that just concluded. So here we present some ...
Suppose it is a beautiful Spring (Summer, early Fall) day in D.C. For lunch, you want to dine al fresco (sidewalk seating, patio and r...
Claude Nadir - DC educator We often think we know people, but many times we don't know them as well as we think we do. Case in point...
With Nam June Paik's massive Electronic Highway: Continental United States and Alaska and Hawaii installment piece flashing and blink...
Fake fictional heroes ... .. are no match for the real thing. From left, Weber, Wynberg, Mayer. In 2009, film director Quentin Tara...
Beach Boy Brian Wilson on piano with guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck (in white with white guitar) In the history of rock, there have been so...
Conflicts are part of human life. Some are relatively common, affecting most of us. But what if a conflict is more specific to exactly who...