Utne Blogs > Literature

Sarah Palin's Poetry

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Great Writing, Politics, Election 2008, poetry, free verse, stream of consciousness, Sarah Palin, ,

Palin on PalinA realization just hit me like the explosion of a roman candle firing across the sky: Sarah Palin isn’t inarticulate; she’s a beat-style poet, extemporaneously constructing stream-of-consciousness, free-verse works of art during interviews. Consider this poem Palin rattled off in her recent interview with Katie Couric: 

This is crisis moment for America,
really the rest of the world also,
looking to see what the impacts will be,
if America were to choose not to shore up what has happened on Wall Street,
because of the ultimate adverse effects on Main Street
(and then how that affects this globalization that we’re a part of in our world)
so the rest of the world really is looking at John McCain:
the leadership that he’s going to provide through this,
and if those provisions in the proposal can be implemented
and make this proposal better—
make it 
          make more sense 
                    to taxpayers 
                              then again,
John McCain is going to prove his leadership.

Now compare that to the beginning of Howl by Allen Ginsberg:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
contemplating jazz,

Or this quote from the same Sarah Palin interview:

But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the, it’s got to be all about job creation, too: shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track, so healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief, for Americans, and trade—we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we’ve got to look at that more as more opportunity—all those things under the umbrella of job creation, this bailout is a part of that.

And compare that to a quote from On the Road by Jack Kerouac:

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!

You can watch a clip of Palin’s poetic genius below:

donna_1
10/6/2008 11:02:37 PM

PALIN by Donna Williams, copyright Oct 2008 PALIN by Donna Williams, copyright Oct 2008 Cutsey wootsey, poopsy poo, Well ain’t I cute? Ya’ll like my do? I’ll portray Putin as a snake, But slither when you prove me fake. On tap I’ve piles of rhetoric, Say all the key words, laid on thick. Throw in some guns and the moose I shoot, Throw in my son with Down’s to boot. The potential rape of my own daughter? No, abortionists straight to the slaughter! Women’s bodies are of God’s creation, But I’ll prove it too through legislation. To fight I’d never use my fists I’d merely call you ‘terrorists’. I’ll hold God’s will in my manicured hand, I’ll spread his will through Arab land. I’ll send our youth to God’s own war. I’ll also give Homos what for. I’m more righteous than that Taliban. Just vote me in, you’ll understand.


ann weber
10/6/2008 2:24:15 PM

This is an addendum to my last comment. Someone just emailed me some Sarah Palin "poetry" from Slate. Their approach is amusing and makes no "literary" comparisons. It is clear that the person who arranged those lines has a good sense of language. You should check it out.


ann weber
10/6/2008 2:17:36 PM

This is the most ridiculous comparison I can think of. If you aren't able to see the difference between these two beautifully coherent passages from Ginsburg and Kerouac and the Sarah Palin gibberish you say sounds like it, then your command of language is not much better than Sarah Palin's. I'm assuming that you mean this exercise as some kind of satire, but the response to it shows people taking it seriously. George Orwell once said something to the effect that the lack of attention to language will bring about the downfall of democracy. I can see that happening in front of my eyes as this campaign rolls on. I recently lost faith in Utne and canceled my subscription. This article reinforces my decision.


julie hanus
10/6/2008 12:29:01 PM

Anyone who wants to take a crack at a Palin Poem should head on over to the Great Writing Salon. :) http://www.utne.com/salon.aspx?g=posts&t=21708 So far we have a couple poems made up from Palin's actual words (based on interview transcripts), as well as a poem about Palin. Hooray!


sharon_1
10/6/2008 12:04:57 PM

I enjoyed this--thanks for the chuckle!


sandy_1
10/6/2008 11:53:22 AM

Palin Poetry? Pa-lease!!! She is inarticulate. For years people have been saying that Bush just speaks plainly and doesn't want to talk above the public's heads. When - tell me when have you seen a politician or anyone else who doesn't put their best foot forward in a public address. EITHER YOU'VE GOT IT OR YOU DON'T. Apparently Governor Palin doesn't have it. Her first and serious mistake in judgement was to accept this offer from McCain. She's over her head!!!


robert m wilson
10/4/2008 3:16:51 PM

Sarahphilia (poem) In this election year, media should direct one of their innumerable polls at men with high-definition televisions. Specifically, how many hug the screen when the life-size image of Alaska governor and vice- presidential candidate Sarah Palin comes on. The tired, old (and even young) faces of most male politicians "pale in" comparison. How many viewers stroke her cute television cheeks, even give her lips a virtual kiss or two? And how many wives throw pillows and other things at their lovesick spouses?


amanda_2
10/3/2008 1:23:01 PM

Sarah Palin might be a poet but she still avoids the answers to questions. Try as you might you have to fight to find something good to say about the lady. After the Biden/Palin debate last night, the only thing reporters could say about her was that she didn't do poorly. The American people were expecting Palin to make an ass out of herself, thankfully she didn't. On a personal note, I think we already have a "bubba" for a president we don't need a "vice-bubba," gosh darnit!


cally carswell
10/2/2008 1:20:25 PM

The folks at Slate are also giving Sarah Palin props for her poetic talents! http://www.slate.com/id/2201342/


jake mohan
10/2/2008 12:22:53 PM

Bennett: I was just about to post a link to the interview generator, but I'm pleased to see you beat me to it. "Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, overseeing the oil and gas development in our state to produce more for the United States as being a force for good change." Also, Google has opened up its archives in honor of its tenth birthday, and you can search the Internet as if it were 2001 (the earliest year they've got archived). Best of all, if you do a search for "Sarah Palin," here's what you get: http://www.google.com/search2001/search?q=%22sarah+palin%22&hl=en&btnG=Search


bennett gordon
9/30/2008 3:31:10 PM

For more Sarah Palin fun, check out this Palin Interview Generator: http://interviewpalin.com/


bixby
9/27/2008 9:18:22 PM

Amazing to see this connection in print. I was just musing today that this generation is like a bunch of Beat Poets--but not in the sense of choppy expression and self-absorbed, esoteric thought--but in the strive for being perennially cool, not adult, and so hip they're counter-culture. The most mundane, mainstream boomer prides himself on having never "lost it," knowing all the latest entertainment gossip and pop song lyrics, as much as any teenager. This group prided itself on side-stepping the staid, but proven, conservative path to success and stable community and economy of their parents' generation and quietly watched (and partook) while this country was pillaged from the inside from 2000 to now. Being selfish and counter-culture is only sustainable when there is enough common-sense stability to support the rebellion; moreover, it is just sad when it is so common that it is the modern definition of mainstream.


sarah _1
9/26/2008 5:48:31 PM

This is very insightful, and just the sort of literary comparison that I depend on Utne staff to bring to light. Not enough beat poets have vied for the vice presidency - or shot at wolves from planes, for that matter. What a lady.