Nicholas Kristof held a Trump Poetry Contest at the New York Times earlier this year that lead to the publication of Resistance, Rebellion, Life: 50 Poems Now. 


He’s now teaming up with the Poetry Society of America to run a 2nd Trump Poetry Contest.

Announcing a Trump Poetry Contest – Nicholas Kristof – New York Times – 9/15/17

“No entry can be more than 22 lines. They can rhyme or not and can be haiku or sonnets or limericks or any other form — just no epics.

“One caution: The Times can’t publish vulgarities and profanities. The poems must be your work, and your submission means that you agree to let me publish them or excerpt them in The Times. Also, I’d like to make clear that whatever my politics, I welcome poems that defend President Trump or target the press. If you think we in the media are being unfair to a great president, rise to his defense in verse.”

“I plan to keep the contest open until Oct. 8, but don’t procrastinate. Each person can enter up to three poems. To enter, email your poems to contest@poetrysociety.org.”

What type of poem would Trump like to see on the Statue of Liberty?


Huddled masses? Losers!Trump v the Statue of Liberty: A senior Trump advisor, Stephen Miller, sparked a furor last week when he dismissed the famous poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. In response, we asked 21 poets: what type of poem would Trump like to see at the statue? – The Guardian

Melissa StuddardI Lift My Lamp

Salt-licked and split down the middle, divided by what I am
and what they think I can be: Woman with an ocean
in my breast, a nation in my sea. You’ve no idea the boats
I hold–the bitter jokes and hypocrisies. Body of lamplight, body
of shoreline, I welcome your risings and arrivals without degree.
Still. Bring your wretched, your poor, your disillusioned to me.


Read more!!!!!


“Give me your wealthy, your rich, your huddled MBAs yearning to be tax free…”

Watch: Stephen Colbert rewrites the Statue of Liberty poem in tune with Trump’s immigration policyScroll.in – 8/8/17

“The poem on the Statue of Liberty needs an update, Colbert said, keeping in mind the Trump administration and its new take on immigration. ‘Give me your wealthy, your rich, your huddled MBAs yearning to be tax free. Send these – the English-speaking, fully insured – to me,’ he recited on the show. ‘I lift my lamp beside the golden door and lift my leg upon your filthy poor. PS: No fatties, please.’”

and see

The Poem on the Statue of Liberty Was ‘Added Later’ But There’s More to That Story – Olivia B. Waxman – Time – 8/2/17

“Originally, the meaning of the monument had more to do with the abolition of slavery than with immigration…..But, while the statue herself would be a gift, it would be up to Americans to raise money to construct the monument’s base….It was as a result of the need to fund the pedestal that Emma Lazarus was tapped to write the famous sonnet ‘The New Colossus’ for a Statue of Liberty fundraiser in 1883. Inspired by her work with Russian Jews detained by immigration officials on Ward Island, she included a new facet of liberty in her interpretation of what the statue could mean….”

“the sonnet on the Statue of Liberty was ‘added later’ and therefore, does not reflect American values towards immigrants.”


Stephen Miller attacks Statue of Liberty poem, echoing popular white nationalist talking point – Rebekah Entralgo – Think Progress – August 2, 2017

“At Wednesday’s White House press briefing, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was pressed on whether Trump’s new immigration policy was in keeping with the spirit of the poem inscribed at the base of Statute of Liberty.

‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.’

“The Trump administration’s new immigration bill, as CNN’s Jim Acosta noted, favors ‘highly-skilled,’ English-speaking applicants.

“Miller became angry, replying that the sonnet on the Statue of Liberty was ‘added later’ and therefore, does not reflect American values towards immigrants.”

Is this poetry? “The Dems scream death as OCare dies!” 


Dr. Word Says: Trump Tries His Hand at Poetry – David Safier – The Range – 7/19/17

Safir comments on the 2nd sentence of Trump’s tweet:

“Did Trump intend the sentence to have a poetic ring, or was his phrasing borne of the necessity of keeping the message to 140 characters, which happens to be the exact length of the tweet? One might as well ask, is an especially evocative Haiku beautiful because the poet intended it to be so, or is the beauty of the poem an accident caused by the constraints of the seventeen syllable, five-seven-five form? Since I readily grant the author of a splendid haiku credit for the work, who am I to deny our president similar credit for the felicity of his phrasing?”

On the one hand, articles about Trump being a “poet” seem absurd. On the other hand, it may be worth while to study Trump’s patterns of speech and what poetic devices he does, consciously or not, use.  (Would Hillary Clinton have had a better chance at winning if she were a more poetic speaker? Barack Obama was a big poetry advocate, after all…. ) Perhaps college students majoring in political science might benefit from taking poetry courses….Just a thought.  Also see Robin Lakoff, Donald Trump, true American poet? Quartz, April 8, 2016 for an attempt to use poetry to explain Trump’s appeal.

why “the poet is the anti-Trump”


“The poet’s strength is in words. If you look at how Trump uses words—like the ‘covfefe’ joke everyone is laughing about—I mean, it’s funny, really, and everyone does a typo, but I can’t help but see it as a symbol, that covfete word for the utter nonsense that he sometimes speaks. He has no care about what kind of impact his dangerous words can have, no care at all.

“In that way, the poet is the anti-Trump, because the poet’s job is to care about the importance of words….”

Zeina Hashem Beck, from “We Weren’t Born In The Cities We Long For”: An award-winning Lebanese poet explains how good art turns strange places into safe havens – Abby Carney –  GOOD – 6/19/17

Zeina Hashem Beck – Maqam
If I die, you say you will let your hair
turn silver, grow long, and you will go
into the dark place, for you’ve already begun
to forget what Mecca means.
Where we come from, you and I,
maqam means home, means music; the Qur’an
can only be read as a song; a sheikh recites the Fatiha
as if he has built a house among the lines, the ayas.

Dailies 6/4/17: Pea Brush * underneath each seat was a small box * for no good reason * Donald came in a vision to Donald



Ella Frears – After the Lie, Donald Came in a Vision to Donald

On the twenty-
fourth day the river,
a belt of gold,

Donald like topaz,
like lightning, eyes
flaming, arms

Read rest of poem 


Twyla Hansen – For No Good Reason

As if you needed one,
as if you could help it,
for no good reason
a tune out of nowhere

Read rest of poem 



Alison Benis White – [Underneath each seat was a small box….]

Underneath each seat was a small box we were asked to open.

Read rest of poem 


Robert Frost – Pea Brush

I walked down alone Sunday after church
To the place where John has been cutting trees
To see for myself about the birch
He said I could have to bush my peas.

Read rest of poem 


“Hopkins’ misery was literature’s gain” & “Poets are the absolute antitheses of Trump”


Gerard Manley Hopkins, a terrible teacher who hated UCD – Simon Edge – The Irish Times – May 22, 2017

“In fairness, he had a genuinely awful time of it. In episodes I dramatise in my novel The Hopkins Conundrum, the unhappy soul who would eventually be recognised as a literary visionary arrived as Professor of Classics at University College Dublin in 1885. The Irish province of the Society of Jesus, which had taken over the running of the university, was dead against English Catholic converts joining their staff, so his appointment was bitterly contested. It was a bad start for a sensitive, frail creature who was already a misfit as on his own side of the Irish Sea.

“The university itself was a sorry institution, operating out of a rat-infested building on the south side of St Stephen’s Green, bereft of books because the committee that gave the place to the Jesuits decided they wouldn’t need a library. Although he took his responsibilities seriously, Hopkins was a terrible teacher with no ability to control unruly students. When those students found out that the funny little man trying to teach them Latin and Greek was an English conservative with an Oxford accent and hopelessly hostile views on Home Rule, they made themselves as unruly as possible.”


‘We poets are the absolute antitheses of Trump’: a new collection takes a stand – Elizabeth Lund – Washington Post – 5/23/17

“As editor Amit Majmudar writes in the prologue, ‘We poets are the absolute antitheses of Trump. We are at the other end of the spectrum: we are his negative image.’ Much of the work reminds readers that we are responsible for our choices and, through them, can help determine the future of the nation.”

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