Deadline Poet

Overview

"Could there be anyone else who was inspired to write poetry by the presence of John Sununu?" Maybe so, but only Calvin Trillin came up with a piece of verse called "If You Knew What Sununu." Ever since it appeared in print, in 1990, he has been a weekly gadfly in verse for The Nation, delighting readers with his rhyming observations on the news of the day. As his deadline approached every week, his inspiration came from, among many others, George Bush ("You did your best in your own way, / The way of Greenwich ...
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Overview

"Could there be anyone else who was inspired to write poetry by the presence of John Sununu?" Maybe so, but only Calvin Trillin came up with a piece of verse called "If You Knew What Sununu." Ever since it appeared in print, in 1990, he has been a weekly gadfly in verse for The Nation, delighting readers with his rhyming observations on the news of the day. As his deadline approached every week, his inspiration came from, among many others, George Bush ("You did your best in your own way, / The way of Greenwich Country Day") and H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Saddam Hussein and Jerry Brown and Clarence Thomas and Ross Perot and Princess Diana and Zoe Baird ("She'd done this deed to get au paired") and Robert Dole and someone called Wanderin' Willie Clinton, who sings the "I got the movin' to the middle 'cause it's slip'ry on the edges blues." Here, in prose as sparkling as the verse that accompanies it, Trillin describes his evolution from a "special-occasions poet" into a deadline poet, and comments on the events that inspired his weekly verse. The result is an irresistible entertainment that also turns out to be an antic history of three years of American life that were particularly rich in material for someone who describes his job this way: "The news presents a motley little band / That I observe, tomato in my hand."

Could there be anyone else who was inspired to write poetry by the presence of John Sununu? Since 1990, the author of Remembering Denny has been a weekly gadfly in verse for The Nation, delighting readers with his rhyming, one-of-a-kind observations on the events of the day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an irreverent, hilarious romp, Trillin (Uncivil Liberties) wraps a running political and cultural commentary around the weekly topical verses he has written for the Nation since 1990. His barbed satirical poems and accompanying essays find their mark in deflating Quayle, Ross Perot, "Republonazi'' David Duke and Margaret Thatcher. There are also witty verses on the Supreme Court's rightward drift, the reunification of Germany, Madonna, Father's Day and Princess Di. Trillin's coverage of the Bush-Clinton contest points up the triumph of image in presidential campaigns. Clinton's NAFTA legislation, his health care plan and his lurch to the center lead Trillin to observe that "Presidents sort of blend together, somewhere in the middle. . . . This seemed particularly true of Bill Clinton and George Bush.'' (Apr.)
Library Journal
Most people know Trillin (Remembering Denny, LJ 3/15/93) as a columnist and essayist writing with humor and perception about a whole range of issues both political and personal. Most of his 16 books are collections of such essays tied together with anecdotal material that further add to our enjoyment. This collection is no different except that Trillin gathered a series of poems he wrote each week for the Nation starting in 1990 and continuing through President Clinton's first summer in office. Trillin's first political verse "If You Knew What Sununu'' launched a new career for him, which included an unsuccessful bid for the position of poet laureate. Gathered here are poems that celebrate famous people who take themselves too seriously. As always, Trillin amuses and offers a lighthearted look at our world. Not an essential purchase, except where Trillin has a following. Collections of contemporary political science might also want to consider.-Denise Sticha, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh
Ray Olson
Ever notice that political-opinion journals all run poetry? And that it's all bad? The best that can be said of this bookful of humorist Trillin's rhymes upon emergent topics for The Nation is that it surrounds the verse with lots of prose commentary more or less on how each of the things came to be. Trillin is very definitely a far better prose writer than a versifier, but you'll have to downright worship his commas in order to not be distracted by just about anything--a fly, that low buzz in the kitchen you don't recall hearing before, wondering whether you should rotate your tires, remembering what you ate for lunch a week ago--while reading this numbing trifle from the acclaimed author of, most recently, Remembering Denny.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374135522
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.79 (d)

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