English from the treetops

There’s a 400-year-old verse that I consider ideal for demonstrating change in the English language. It’s “The lowest trees have tops,” by a nobody called Edward Dyer. As poetry, it operates at about the level of forgettable pop music. It’s standard iambic pentameter, and the rhyme pattern is ABABCC. What first struck me is the […]

The poetry of Mike Huckabee

I appreciated Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Remember the bleak winter of 2007-2008? That was when Rudy Giuliani, Warlord of the New York Marches, was the party’s crown prince, destined to face off against Her Royal Highness the Queen Consort (also of New York). Barack Obama and John McCain were a couple of no-chance long shots.

It was a grim, joyless time, and Huckabee’s aw-shucks populism, which so plainly got on the nerves of his party’s junta grande, was about the only touch of humanity in the race. My state is both needy and knee-jerk Republican, and I thought Huckabee might at least give us a way to, you know, “send a message.”

And that’s what we did, although by the time we voted, Huckabee was on the way out and Obama was steaming ahead. When I canvassed for the Obama campaign (in Condoleezza Rice’s old neighborhood, as it happened), my canvass partner, an African American soldier just back from Iraq, told me his dream ticket would list Obama for president, with Huckabee as his running mate. Continue reading “The poetry of Mike Huckabee”