Synopses & Reviews
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.”
In a laugh-out-loud book of political verse and personal observations, Calvin Trillin provides riotous accompaniment to this year’s presidential election, in which Obama and Romney will “dogfight” to the end.
Here America’s preeminent humorist satirically skewers the current occupant of the White House, along with all his Republican challengers — from Mitt to Newt, Perry to Paul, with dash of Bachmann and Santorum thrown in for good measure. A campaign that’s given us so much material — Super PACs and sudden memory lapses, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, Mormons and libertarians, dogs on cars and open marriages — has finally found the perfect chronicler. Once again, Calvin Trillin takes his poetic license to the wittiest possible extreme.
About the Author
A longtime staff writer at the New Yorker, Calvin Trillin is also The Nation’s deadline poet. His bestsellers range from the memoir About Alice to Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme. He lives in Greenwich Village, which he describes as “a neighborhood where people from the suburbs come on weekends to test their car alarms.”