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.    

I wanted the book to do what novels generally do: tell a story. Ophelia has one of the play’s most powerful lines: “Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be.” My attempt was to give her something of what she may be. Also, and again quite aside from the constraint, here was a character who invites questions, a character who has very little opportunity to speak for herself in the play, and may now do so.

Writing a Novel Limited to the 483 Words Spoken by Ophelia

Fascinating, long interview on lithub.com with Paul Griffiths, who wrote the 2008 novel let me tell you from Ophelia’s perspective using only the words Shakespeare has her speak in Hamlet.