Huckabee Rejects Pelosi W/Poem; Poetry Critics Reject Huckabee

NPR's Linton Weeks, who knows a thing or two about folks from the South, writes that Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, "has shown himself to be a musician, a writer, a stand-up comedian, a presidential candidate and a shining example of how clean living can lead to miraculous weight loss." Adds Linton: "But who knew he was a poet?"

So when the following political poem about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi popped up recently on Huckabee's Web site, we called up the folks at the Poetry Foundation.

Linton first presents the poem, then he brings in what the poetry specialists said.

Fancy Nancy

By Mike Huckabee

Here's a story about a lady named Nancy
A ruthless politician, but dressed very fancy
Very ambitious, she got herself elected Speaker
But as for keeping secrets, she proved quite a "leaker."

She flies on government planes coast to coast
And doesn't mind that our economy is toast
She makes the Air Force squire her in their military jets
There's room for her family, her staff, and even her pets.

Until now, she annoyed us, but her gaffes were mostly funny;
Even though it was painful to watch her waste our tax money.
But now her wacky comments are no laughing matter;
She's either unwilling to tell the truth, or she's mad as a hatter!

She sat in briefings and knew about enhanced interrogation;
But claims she wasn't there, and can't give an explanation.
She disparages the CIA and says they are a bunch of liars;
Even the press aren't buying it and they're stoking their fires.

I think Speaker Pelosi has done too much speaking;
And instead of her trashing our intelligence officials, it's her nose that needs tweaking.

If forced to believe whether the CIA and her colleagues in Congress are lying;
Or it's Speaker Pelosi whose credibility and career is dying.

I believe in the integrity of the men and women who sacrifice to keep us safe;
Not the woman who has been caught flat-footed, lying to our face.

I say it here and I say it rather clear —
It's time for Nancy Pelosi to resign and get out of here.

Fred Sasaki, associate editor of Poetry Magazine, passed the poem around the office. Here are the staff's responses:

— Too indulgent/lazy: Dickinson-esque capriciousness with punctuation (commas inserted for no reason, periods omitted on whims, a spare semi-colon)

— Tortured syntax in service of unimaginative rhyme scheme (third stanza, second line);

— Disjunctive formal shenanigans (quatrains here, tercets there). "Poetry should be at least as well-written as prose," says Pound.

— Lacks musicality and metaphor.

— Consider mentioning hedgerows or the Danube River.

— Form reject.

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