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

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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”

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“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

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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 

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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 

 

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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 

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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”

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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.”

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‘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.”

what happens when one reads Trump’s words as poetry

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(Image from Titles from Poems Donald Trump Wrote While in College – Stone Slide Corrective)

It’s often interesting to see what breaking politician’s words down into poetry does to our reading of them. Here’s an article on the latest book to do this to Trump’s own: 

‘The best words’: Trump may be a poet without knowing it – Agence France-Presse – The Telegraph – May 11, 2017

“Among the choice bits turned to poems in the book [Make Poetry Great Again by Chris Felt] are words about his daughter that Trump said around 10 years ago.

‘I have said

if Ivanka

were not my daughter,

perhaps

I would be dating her’

“Felt said the words may be ‘terribly macho, pitiful and confusing but when the quotations have space around them I see other facets of him'”.

Dailies 5/4/17: ” I never met Donald Trump but I sure have been grabbed by the you-know-what” & a kindred spirit & Water Street & a grand mal seizure

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Khadijah Queen – I never met Donald Trump but I sure have been grabbed by the you-know-what

I NEVER MET DONALD TRUMP BUT I SURE HAVE BEEN GRABBED BY THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT & I really don’t even want his name in my book & I almost didn’t tell this story but sometimes it’s important to name names & the luxury of fame is that it doesn’t matter what a nobody says if you have

Read rest of poem 

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Carrie Shipers – Kindred Spirit

My father doesn’t say ghost, though I know
he’s haunted. Instead he says, When they let
Uncle Marion out of that hospital, he didn’t
even move the same. He said they tried to take
his stories. He loves his fifteen uncles fiercely.
Nearly all of them drank, did time in prison
or mental hospitals, died before forty.

Read rest of poem 

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Lawrence Joseph – Water Street

Nothing between us and Brooklyn Bridge
seen from our windows—on the other side of Pearl,

Dover is Frankfort, along the Bridge towards
City Hall—Governors, Staten, Liberty islands,

Read rest of poem 

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Molly McCully Brown – Grand Mal Seizure

There’s however it is you call,
& there’s whatever it is
you’re calling to.

Read rest of poem 

 

“Civic poetry is ascending”

“Civic poetry is public poetry. It is political poetry. It is about the hard stuff of life: money, crime, gender, corporate excess, racial injustice. It gives expression not just to our rites but also to our problems and even our values; these poems are not about rustic vacations.

“Civic poetry is ascending. It has asserted itself in recent years in the form of poetry slams and, of course, political rap, but now it is rising again on the page….” 

-Alissa Quart – Political Poetry for Our Times: We shouldn’t give up on poetry, if only because we need a different public language to describe our country.Bill Moyers and Company – 3/31/17

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