Free Verse Fails as Political Satire


Writing free verse, Robert Frost once noted, is like playing tennis without a net, and although I disagree with that overly simplistic characterization, I do think when it comes to political verse satire, you’re better off possessing the talents of Ogden Nash over those of William Carlos Williams. In other words, you want the inherent attraction of traditional verse — standard meter, rhyme, alliteration, etc. In the realm of satire, sing-song trumps subtle sonic stitching; Muhammad Ali KOs Marianne Moore.

For example, this ain’t gonna hack it:

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 8.48.46 PM

Nor will this:

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 8.49.15 PM

One obvious problem in the current Presidential campaign is coming up with words that rhyme with the candidates’ names. This difficulty is especially pronounced for surnames with two syllables.

Sanders isn’t too bad – sanders/pander – but John Kasich and Hillary Clinton, ugh.

Kasich/ wasted.

Clinton/sent in.

Of course, with HRC, you can go with her first name, and bam, you get pillory, which offers many illustrative possibilities.

But let’s face it, as far as rhyme goes, the candidate with most promising last name is Trump, which offers a veritable plethora of pejorative rhymes:

bump/clump/dump/frump/grump/hump/ lump/mumps/ rump, sump, etc.

Cruz comes in second with dues/snooze/ flooze/abuse/news/, etc.

But then, even if you can get the rhymes going, you have to worry about meter.

Forget it.

What muse worth her whispering is going to descend and inspire you to write some shit about Carly Florina?


2 thoughts on “Free Verse Fails as Political Satire

  1. Pingback: Free Verse Fails as Political Satire | rodneywallacegantt

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