Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse, by Calvin Trillin

My library choices seem to have taken a turn toward humorous poetry--Suddenly Sixty and Dogfight in the same week. Dogfight is 154 pages long, and sustaining the rhyming for that many pages means that it sometimes lapses into, well, doggerel (sorry, couldn't stop myself). Some of the rhymes are quite clever, but when you see on the first page that Trillin has rhymed "dude'll" with "poodle," you know he'll stop at nothing.

Trillin intersperses the poetic narrative with shorter poems, such as "Adieu Santorum": The race will miss the purity/That you alone endow./We'll never find another man/Who's holier than thou."  Occasionally, he makes a "Pause for Prose"; my favorite of these was "Callista Gingrich, Aware That Her Husband Has Cheated On and Then Left Two Wives Who Had Serious Illnesses, Tries Desperately to Make Light of a Bad Cough."

Dogfight is funny--but probably only if you're a Democrat. Trillin aims almost exclusively at Republicans; while they provided plenty of fodder (or kibble) in 2012, even for a Democrat it's almost unforgivable that "They're going to put y'all back in chains" and "You didn't make that" "They're going to put y'all back in chains" and "You didn't build that" don't even get a mention.

Favorite passage:
Mitt Romney asked us all to contemplate
If we are better off than in '08.
Though he neglected mentioning our troops, 
(Did Perry, watching, silently say "oops"?)
Mitt did speak well, but still did not illumine
The question on folks' minds: is this dude human? 

Obama's speech was good, of course, whereas
Bill Clinton gave a speech with real pizzazz.
Upstaged? Well, yes, but by a speech with flair,
And not by Eastwood and an empty chair. 

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