A Delightful Close Reading of a Terrible Trump Poem

Emily Temple takes apart a horrible inaugural poem for Donald Trump written by Jospeh Charles MacKenzie. It really is terrible, faux-classical, Scottish-themed drivel, based on rhyming couplets, heavy handed metaphors, and railing against Trump’s (and the alt-right’s) perceived enemies. Take this stanza for example: 

Whilst hapless old harridans flapping their traps
Teach women to look and behave like us chaps,

The Domhnall defends the defenseless forlorn;
For, a woman’s first right is the right to be born.

Now the bonnie young lassies that fly to the crowd
Have a champion in Domhnall, the best of MacLeod!

The last line is a “refrain at the end of each stanza […] to be recited by the Inaugural crowd.” Ugh.    

“Since the beginning of the campaign, I totally related to his life story and the way he speaks of his family, and of course his multicultural background,” Mr. Blanco said in a telephone interview from the rural village of Bethel, Me., where he lives with his partner. “There has always been a spiritual connection in that sense. I feel in some ways that when I’m writing about my family, I’m writing about him.”

Mr. Blanco must now compose an original poem for the president’s ceremonial swearing-in on the steps of the Capitol on Jan. 21. [..] Addie Whisenant, the inaugural committee’s spokeswoman, said Mr. Obama picked Mr. Blanco because the poet’s “deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American.”

Friends of Mr. Blanco’s, and fellow poets, say the president could not have found a more perfect fit. “I think he was chosen because his America is very similar to the president’s America,” said Liz Balmaseda [..] “You don’t have to be an exile, you don’t have to be Latino or gay to get the yearning in Richard’s poetry.”

Richard Blanco, 2013 Inaugural Poet – NYTimes.com

You can read a number of his poems on his website. I’ve previously never heard of him, but will check his work out now. Fascinating stuff.