Monday, December 15, 2008

More on Calvin Trillin

Prompted by the publication of his new book of political verse, the New York Times yesterday republished a 2006 op-ed by Calvin Trillin on the poetic challenges presented by the prosaic names of some of our presidential candidates. He admits to a narrow view of the subject:
Rhyme is not my only one; I am also intensely interested in meter.
From the poet's perspective, Al Gore is not the most exciting candidate:
Reading about the renewed interest lately in Al Gore, whom I once referred to in a poem as "a man-like object," I have to admit that his name rhymes with more than "bore" and "snore."
Of course that was before Gore went to Hollywood and won an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth.
Trillin bemoans the difficulties of his chosen profession:
It's not as if a deadline poet has an easy lot to begin with. Obviously there are those constant deadlines. Without wanting to knock the competition, I might just point out that, say, the romantic poets — Wordsworth and that crowd — could mosey along the countryside for days without feeling any pressure at all to come up with a sunset they considered worth writing about.
As if versifying on Barack Obama isn't tough enough, Trillin describes learning the name of another Chicago politician, Rod Blagojevich. As I described the other day, Trillin proved superior to the challenge last week.


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