Book review: All the best words
M. Michael Brady
“I know words… I have the best words,” claimed Donald Trump in a campaign rally speech on Dec. 30, 2015.
Now these and other words by the then candidate and now President have been gathered into a poetical collage, Make poetry great again, a tongue-in-cheek title paraphrasing his campaign slogan of “Make America great again.” The author is Chris Felt, a trilingual Norwegian writer born in 1984 and now living in Mexico City.
There are other books on poetical politician pronouncements. There’s a Kindle book of the same title by Pedrito Ortiz (Editor) and Sarah Palin (Foreword), published February 2016 by Amazon Digital Services. There’s a paperback in 2015 on the words of Trump, Bard of the Deal by Slate writer Hart Seely, who also in 2003 published Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld (the Secretary of Defense in the Gerald Ford and George W. Bush administrations).
The type of poetry is known as found poetry, a genre created by extracting phrases from texts or transcripts and then adding or deleting words. As author Felt remarks, “what Trump says is closer to poetry and fiction than to reality.” His Trump quotes are as originally spoken, with only names and short words deleted. Two samples:
I have great respect for women.
I was the one
that really broke the glass ceiling
on behalf of women,
more than anybody
in the construction industry.
I have this thing
called Twitter and Facebook,
which is amazing
It’s like owning the New York Times
without the losses.
The strength of this book is that it consists of quotes alone, with no supporting text, but with much white space to underscore its poetical nature. In that it reflects the much-used catch phrase “a poet and don’t know it,” coined in 1919 by American short-story writer and satirist Ring Lardner (1885-1933).
Make Poetry Great Again is not yet marketed in the USA, but Norwegian online bookshops, including ark.no, bokkilden.no, norli.no, and tanum.no, stock the book and can accept orders from and send books to addresses abroad. The book was published in 2017 by Kagge Forlag.
This article originally appeared in the July 28, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.