In his latest laugh-out-loud book of political verse, Calvin Trillin provides a riotous depiction of the 2012 presidential election campaign. "Dogfight "is a narrative poem interrupted regularly by other poems and occasionally by what the author calls a pause for prose ( 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 ). With the same barbed wit he displayed in the bestsellers "Deciding the Next Decider, Obliviously On He Sails, "and" A Heckuva Job, " America's deadline poet trains his sights on the Tea Party ( These folks were quick to vocally condemn/All handouts but the ones that went to them ) and the slapstick field of contenders for the Republican nomination ( Though first-tier candidates were mostly out, /Republicans were asking, What about/The second tier or what about the third?/Has nothing from those other tiers been heard? ). There is an ode to Michele Bachmann, sung to the tune of a Beatles classic ( Michele, our belle/Thinks that gays will all be sent to hell ) and passages on the exit of candidates like Herman Cain ( Although his patter in debates could tickle, /Cain's pool of knowledge seemed less pool than trickle ) and Rick Santorum ( The race will miss the purity/That you alone endow./We ll never find another man/Who's holier than thou. ) On its way to the November 6 finale, Trillin's narrative takes us through such highlights as the January caucuses in frigid Iowa ( To listen to long speeches is your duty, /And getting there could freeze off your patootie ), the Republican convention ( It seemed like Clint, his chair, and their vignette/Had wandered in from some adjoining set ), and Mitt Romney's secretly recorded 47 percent speech, which inspired the I Got the Mitt Thinks I m a Moocher, a Taker not a Maker, Blues.
About the Author
Calvin Trillin is the author of twenty books, including "Family Man" (FSG, 1998) and "Messages from My Father "(FSG, 1996). He writes a weekly column for "Time" and a weekly poem for" The Nation". He lives in New York City.