Presidential Race Gets Much Verse

Good news today for Calvin Trillin fans. The Nation's (and probably the nation's) most amusing political versifier is hard at work on Deciding the Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme. Random House says he has promised to pen his final stanzas within three days after the election so the book can be in stores in early December. Trillin's previous efforts in this vein -- A Heckuva Job (2006) and Obliviously On He Sails (2004) -- were bestsellers.

According to the publisher, Trillin's current work-in-progress is a narrative poem in rhyming couplets, punctuated by shorter poems, a few of which have been published over the past year. Here are some samples:

  • -- Of Fred Thompson's misadventures in the South Carolina Republican primary, Trillin writes: The pros said, 'That's a state he'd have to take' / And he just might, if he can stay awake.


  • -- Following Mitt Romney's flip-flops on abortion and gay rights, the poet notes that social conservatives were troubled by
    Those Massachusetts views he once embraced / The views that had been totally replaced / By views designed to make a case and vector it / Directly to the heart of this electorate.


    Random House says Trillin also throws in a few ditties, including:

  • -- A country song about John Edwards called "Yes, I Know He's a Mill Worker's Son But There's Hollywood in That Hair"

  • -- And one for Sarah Palin, to the tune of a Barbra Streisand number: "On a Clear Day, I See Vladivostok."
  • Got any suggestions for this poet just trying to make a living in hard times, what with all the comedic competition from late-night television? Brother, care you spare a rhyme?

    For my part, here's all I have to say:

    Don't know what he'll fill in
    Just that thrillin' it'll be.
    Palin's for drillin'
    But, baby, Trillin's for me.

    --Alan Cooperman


    By Alan Cooperman |  October 31, 2008; 2:58 PM ET Alan Cooperman
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