Thursday, June 15, 2006

Trillin: The trials of a deadline poet

I enjoy Calvin Trillin's pieces in The Nation and heard him the other day with Al Franken...and today he pens an op-ed for the NYT on his unique craft: "My excitement at the news that Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, is considering a bid for president in 2008 is easy to explain: his name has enormous rhyming potential. We all have our own issues.

Rhyme is not my only one; I am also intensely interested in meter. I happen to be a deadline poet, responsible for commenting on the events of the day in verse. Someone in my position tends to see Ross Perot and John McCain as two peas in a pod — blessedly iambic candidates with nearly unlimited rhyming possibilities. During my 16 years in the deadline poetry game, though, we've had nobody with a name like Ross Perot or John McCain in the White House. I've had to deal with presidents whose names are an affront to rhyme and meter. Given the rhyming difficulties of Bill Clinton's name, in fact, I believe future historians will think of him as the 'orange' of American presidents."


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