Friday, April 09, 2021

In Trump Sonnets, poet Ken Waldman tracks how America lost its mind

I just received a copy of Ken Waldman's "Trump Sonnets, Volume 8: The Final Four Months."

This is good news/good news. Another book of Trump sonnets to read. And, as the title says, "final" four months of the Trump scourge. A traumatic four months. A traumatic four years. Poet M.L. Liebler, who published the book at his Ridgeway Press in Michigan, writes in the foreword:

Ken has successfully brought form to the most unformable and unformidable, mean-spirited, fly-by-the-seat-of-his pants scoundrel who did his damndest to take this country down.

Waldman takes us through the final four months through sonnets in the POV of Americans: a dog walker in Brooklyn, a prison guard in Lexington, Kentucky, and a house painter in Hilo, Hawaii. Closer to home are the words of a baker in Cheyenne and a locksmith in Casper. The baker rhapsodizes about the two Q Girls who are "both up for war against Democrats." The locksmith is more thoughtful. He (I think it's a he) says that a civil war may be on the horizon but is wary of "citizens desperate or angry enough" to assassinate a Supreme Court elder or "wayward" senator. There is also an architect in Fort Collins who blasts the "toxic idiocy" of those who believe that Trump won the election. The Brooklyn dog walker sums it up this way: "Put them behind bars -- him, Jared, the kids. Or send them to Mars."

We hear many voices. I've been reading the selections in a more lighthearted mood than I did the first seven "Trump Sonnets." That is because T has disappeared from public view and is no longer on Twitter to rattle my world. He also is gone from the White House which he treated like his own Scarface villa (he already has one of those in Mar-a-Lago).

As evident during Waldman's 35-year career as an itinerant poet and fiddler, he has a keen wit and is always busy creating. He's published 19 poetry and prose books and nine CDs that "mix Appalachian-style string band music with original poetry." As a touring artist whose home base is in Alaska, most of his gigs since March 2020 were cancelled or postponed. He's been featured at the Dodge Poetry Festival in New Jersey, the Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia, and the Word of South Festival this weekend in Tallahassee, Fla. He's also conducted residencies in more than 200 schools, including ones in Casper and Cheyenne. He's also served as a judge for Wyoming Arts Council literary fellowships.

Front Range dwellers can see him on stage on May 22, 7 p.m., at the Lakewood Cultural Center in Lakewood, Colo. He will appear with Willi Carlisle and special guests Ben Guzman and Colin Gould. Tickets are $27 and you can get them here

I will file volume eight with Waldman's one through seven in my presidential library. My grandkids, if I ever have any, might like to read them and see how America lost its mind in the 21st century. 

You can't actually buy the book until September 1. Get more info at the Trump Sonnets site or Waldman's home page. The book will be distributed by nonprofit literary book distributor Small Press Distribution at 

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