Dogfight by Calvin Trillin
The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse

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There’s lots to laugh about in these pages. The absurdities will echo for ages.
-NY Times


In his latest laugh-out-loud book of political verse, Calvin Trillin provides a riotous depiction of the 2012 presidential election campaign.
Dogfight is a narrative poem interrupted regularly by other poems and occasionally by what the author calls a pause for prose (“Callista Gingrich, Aware That Her Husband Has Cheated On and Then Left Two Wives Who Had Serious Illnesses, Tries Desperately to Make Light of a Bad Cough”). With the same barbed wit he displayed in the bestsellers Deciding the Next Decider, Obliviously On He Sails, and A Heckuva Job, America’s deadline poet trains his sights on the Tea Party (“These folks were quick to vocally condemn/All handouts but the ones that went to them”) and the slapstick field of contenders for the Republican nomination (“Though first-tier candidates were mostly out,/Republicans were asking, “What about/The second tier or what about the third?/Has nothing from those other tiers been heard?”). There is an ode to Michele Bachmann, sung to the tune of a Beatles classic (“Michele, our belle/Thinks that gays will all be sent to hell”) and passages on the exit of candidates like Herman Cain (“Although his patter in debates could tickle,/Cain’s pool of knowledge seemed less pool than trickle”) and Rick Santorum (“The race will miss the purity/That you alone endow./We’ll never find another man/Who’s holier than thou.”)
On its way to the November 6 finale, Trillin’s narrative takes us through such highlights as the January caucuses in frigid Iowa (“To listen to long speeches is your duty,/And getting there could freeze off your patootie”), the Republican convention (“It seemed like Clint, his chair, and their vignette/Had wandered in from some adjoining set”), and Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded “47 percent” speech, which inspired the “I Got the Mitt Thinks I’m a Moocher, a Taker not a Maker, Blues.”

From the Hardcover edition.

About Calvin Trillin

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Calvin Trillin, who became The Nation’s “deadline poet” in 1990, has also written verse on the events of the day for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and National Public Radio. His political beliefs are so colored by rhyme and meter that he once criticized Hillary Clinton for being “insufficiently iambic” and publicly advised against a presidential run by the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich. He is the author of Obliviously on He Sails and A Heckuva Job.From the Hardcover edition.
Published November 20, 2012 by Random House. 176 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Dec 23 2012
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Dogfight
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by MICHIKO KAKUTANI on Nov 19 2012

There’s lots to laugh about in these pages. The absurdities will echo for ages.

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The New Yorker

Reviewed by The New Yorker on Dec 03 2012

...focusses on the people, parties, and pooches of the 2012 Presidential campaign (“Mitt Romney put Seamus on top of the car. / ‘He liked it up there, and we weren’t going far.’ ”).

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The Courier-Journal

Reviewed by Gary Roedemeier on Jan 04 2013

By mixing journalism, politics and rhymes, Trillin produces a little book that is not gentle verse.

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