Years ago, when he was visiting writer at my school, the poet Billy Collins told me that he didn’t know of one poet who would be willing to write an inaugural poem for George W Bush.
After last Monday’s debate and the subsequent toxic spew of defamatory tweets, I doubt if we’ll have to consider the possibility of an American poet composing a poem to honor Donald J Trump.
Politics aside, it’s no doubt for the best: orange is probably the hardest word to rhyme in English.
I did some googling, though, and found on Amazon The Conservative Poets: A Contemporary Anthology, edited by William Baer, who offers this estimation of the contemporary literary landscape:
Although it often seems that liberals and the radical Left have assumed complete hegemony over the arts, especially the literary arts, there exists a remnant of very talented American poets who create beautiful, serious, witty, moving, and diverse poetry from a conservative point of view. This unique anthology illustrates the wide range of these determined and sometimes defiant artists, who hope that their work will encourage more like-minded Americans to learn the poetic craft and pursue the literary endeavor.
Here’s a snapshot of portion of the table of contents:
I tried to track down some of these poets, only to discover the ones I deemed most suitable to be nominated as Trump’s inaugural poet had, to quote Richard Wilbur, “gone from this rotten/Taxable world to a standard of higher living.” The late Marion Montgomery’s “While Waiting: Lines for a Lady Suffragette, Standing on a Bus” certainly seems to adhere in some ways to Trump’s view of what Montgomery might call the “fair sex.”
Ah, Lady. Ah. It is a stirring sight.
Franchisement by the gods is now complete.
You now have won the inalienable right
Of standing on your own two feet.
Alas, Montgomery checked out of this Motel 6 of Sorrow in the penultimate year of W’s second term.
Editor Baer in his preface admits that most of the anthologized poems’ conservatism lie in their traditional forms rather than politics, but adds, “Some, myself included, would even tend to see meter as a poetic representation of the provident order of God’s universe.”
What led me to these ruminations is the discovery of a web site entitled Scholars and Writers for America. Beneath its banner there is a statement of support: “Given our choices in the presidential election, we believe that Donald J. Trump is the candidate most likely to restore the promise of America, and we urge you to support him as we do.”
Scrolling down my screen looking for a poets or novelists, past names like Burton W Folsom, Jr., author of The Myth of the Robber Barons and Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute, I discovered, to my delight, at the bottom of the screen, Thomas C McCollum, novelist.
Here’s the second paragraph of text from McCollum’s website, from an article by Louise Cook, the editor of Absolute Marbella Magazine:
If one were to view all aspects of Thomas McCollum’s professional and avocational life, one might be very tempted to call him a Renaissance man–albeit with a strong entrepreneurial bent. Wisely McCollum leaves all such pretentions to others, preferring the doing rather than the talking about.
What follows is a most-interesting-man-in-the-world litany: Can-am racing, bull running in Pamplona [Spain she helpfully adds], man-eating crocodile hunting, a golf-addiction, insurance sales, original pen and ink drawings street-corner sales, med-school matriculation, med-school abandonment, medical laboratory founding, medical laboratory selling, retirement to Marbella, Spain, “to live out all the fantasies of his youth. He has camped, safaried, and traveled to every continent on earth.”
McCollum has published four novels: Whipsocket, Tainted Blood, Palmer Lake, and Uncle Norm.
Here are the first and last sentences from Publisher Weekly’s review of Tainted Blood.
Readers willing to suspend disbelief beyond belief may find McCollum’s first novel an interesting medical thriller; others will be dismayed by characters manipulated by incredible plot contrivances.
McCollum makes the medical details microscopically authentic, but too many standard diatribes against government agencies, characters who speak polemic as often as they do dialogue and a conclusion that’s painfully anticlimactic render a hot topic tepid.
Now compare that MSM review to this one for Uncle Norm from Christopher Feigum, Grammy Award winner and Metropolitan Opera Singer:
“Thomas McCollum has delivered a book of operatic proportions…a tale full of intrigue that tempts us to explore the what ifs of life and the possibility of encountering one profound love. Whether he is delighting pygmies with donuts or sharing his smuggled discoveries along the way, Uncle Norm is a warm, comical hero deeply connected to his fellow lost soul in the Congo, Ottobah Cuguano, and their shared faith in everlasting friendship. As they strive to break down racial barriers and transform the world, their adventures amaze the restless traveler in all of us. This timely piece is a declaration that we each have the choice to leave behind a better place than we found.”
Oh, yeah. There is also this snippet from of all places, Publisher’s Weekly: “an interesting thriller…McCollum makes the adventure microscopically authentic.” Hmmm. “an interesting thriller . . . microscopically authentic.” Where I have I heard that before?
Anyway, I have an idea for the Trump Inaugural Committee in the unlikely event that some less cationic-inducing alternative to Thorazine can be combined with some attention-disorder drug to subdue Trump’s pudgy demons and at the same time focus his attention so he can prep for the second two debates.
Here’s my idea. Instead of having an inaugural poem, have Mr. McCollum write an adventure tale with Trump as protagonist.
No one likes poetry anyway.
 By the way, this conversation took place in Folly Beach, SC, at the Sand Dollar Social Club, one of the most exclusive biker bars/literary salons in the Lowcountry of South Carolina
 Is snapshot ever used non-metaphorically anymore? Does any one say, “Wait a sec. I have a snapshot on my phone. Actually I ended up using a screenshot to avoid the moiré-like swirls from the iPhone 7 photo. Are you noticing the propensity of the author to name drop?
 For example, poetically rendering the series of explosions that occurred after that asteroid or comet or whatever slammed into the planet and did away with the dinosaurs would call for a series of spondees: Splat! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!