Eric Cantor And A Defeat Of Biblical Proportions As part of our series "This Week's Must-Read," poet David Lehman recommends a book for those still surprised by Eric Cantor's political upset.
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Eric Cantor And A Defeat Of Biblical Proportions

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Eric Cantor And A Defeat Of Biblical Proportions

Eric Cantor And A Defeat Of Biblical Proportions

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And one more little meditation on Eric Cantor, this time from literature. For our series This Week's Must Read, poet David Lehman recommends a book for those still surprised by the political upset.

DAVID LEHMAN: After Eric Cantor lost his Republican primary, he held a press conference. And this is what he said. In the Jewish faith, you know, I grew up, went to Hebrew school, read a lot in the Old Testament. And you learn a lot about individual setbacks. This isn't just piety. The King James Bible made up of the Old Testament and the New is a terrific book. The heroes of these stories don't have it easy. The ones who are elevated are tested and taught by disaster. If you're a reader of Genesis, you know the pattern. Joseph is sold into slavery and ends up in Egypt. His brothers bloody the boy's coat of many colors and bring it home to break their old father Jacob's heart. Joseph becomes his Egyptian master's favorite. But then he's falsely accused of sexual harassment and goes to prison. There, he makes his reputation as an interpreter of dreams. And when he wisely translates the ones that trouble Pharaoh, he becomes viceroy of all the land. This story is epic poetry of the highest order, written with strict economy and bold directness. Here's what Jacob says, when he learns of his son's triumph. (Reading) It is enough. Joseph, my son, is yet alive. I will go and see him, before I die. The eloquence is in the simplicity. Eric Cantor, the man who was a step away from glory, may take some consolation from the story of Joseph or maybe he'd be more comforted by an American. The Bible quoting, Walt Whitman, who told us in his poem, Election Day, November, 1884, that the still small voice of the divine rests in America's choosing day, that peaceful choice is more powerful than all Rome's wars of old.

BLOCK: That's David Lehman. His "New And Selected Poems" came out last year.

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