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« "The Inventors" [by Jim Dolot] | Main | Breathing Fiction (For Safety Reasons) [by leigh wells] »

August 06, 2008


Wait, do you mean begins and ends with an O, or begins and ends with a vowel? Has his name been Obamo this whole time and we were in the Mongolian backwoods, so didn't get the memo?

No memo to Mongo! Merci, Ming. Mistake mended.

DL: A post for the whole family. Thanks. (Lev's here, laughing too)

Do you think perhaps the current iamb-climate in the race is a form of upbeatness, even hope? The meter of the moment?

Or David--have you considered running? Your trochees could womp a couple of iambs, hands down!

So could yours! As Jenny you would be a couple of hot trochees, as Jennifer you would duplicate the uniquely great Abraham Lincoln (dacytl plus trochee). Be my running-mate?

What would be the best metrics for VP?

David, I accept your generous invitation. I'm even willing to announce our ticket before the Democratic Convention.

We do however need a platform. How about...

A poem in every pot!


Best metrics for VP? A vital question, NB! (Perhaps I'd better not run after all. Although a quick check yields up

Double Trochees
(VP) Richard Nixon
(VP) Walter Mondale
(VP) Spiro Agnew
(VP) Hubert Humphrey
(VP) Chester Arthur (VP under Garfield)

Dactyl Trochees
(VP) Lyndon B. Johnson
(VP) Harry S. Truman
(VP) Nelson D. Rockefeller (dactyl trochee-trochee)
(VP) Martin Van Buren (VP under Andrew Jackson)

One other note on this matter...George Bush/Dan Quayle was a double-spondee, or perhaps a pair of iambs (depending on how you evaluate those less-significant first names)

Noah, should you decide to run for this VP gig, you would be in good company: Aaron Burr (1801-1805) and Gerald Ford share your meter, as does President William Taft!


I don't understand the terms but I like the outcome. Very clever.

Unfortunately for those who write verse, neither of the candidates names scans as a double dactyl. :-(

If greatness is your aim, consider having a dactyl for your surname: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, the two Roosevelts, Kennedy.

A fine point, and one which I roundly appreciate. :-)

Actually, Ethan and I both have dacytls for surnames. Though we didn't hyphenate when we married, I've long wanted to write a double dactyl that begins "Barenblat-Zuckerman"...

These cunning linguistic theories always make me want to ask: How can you be so sure?

I'm late to the party here, but I have a question -- when you say that in case of an Obama victory, "[h]e would join Chester Arthur as the only commnander-in-chief whose last name does not commence with a consonant" -- what about Eisenhower? or Adams? Am I missing something?

Thank you, Nathan, for catching these important omissions. I've made the correction.

Aha. Thanks for the clarification. And also thanks for the excellent post!

Why wouldn't you just call "Obama" an amphibrach?

Saussure had my ear.

What about Abraham Lincoln, which has the rhythm of the last 2 feet of a Latin hexameter? And what is the technical term for that “shave and a haircut” rhythm?

To Peter Brodie's question: I'm not so sure -- but am happy to think that this long-ago post, meant as a lark in August 2008, has legs.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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