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Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  321 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
In his latest laugh-out-loud book of political verse, Calvin Trillin provides a riotous depiction of the 2012 presidential election campaign.
Dogfight is a narrative poem interrupted regularly by other poems and occasionally by what the author calls a pause for prose (“Callista Gingrich, Aware That Her Husband Has Cheated On and Then Left Two Wives Who Had Serious Illness
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Random House (first published January 1st 2012)
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Will Byrnes
Feb 04, 2013 Will Byrnes rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy-satire
Dogfight is a tale in verse of
twenty twelve's election
Barry O and Mittens' race
to make a strong connection
with voters all across the land
especially the swinger
who liked to play the field all day
to make attention linger

He offers up a host of rhymes
about the aspiration
Of those who burned to try to earn
the red-crew nomination
So many clowns, so little car
the up and down campaigns
The polls that changed the daily star
The paucity of brains

We have to thank the man who cranks
out poems by the week
The N
Dec 11, 2012 Kirsti rated it really liked it
I loved this, especially Trillin's characterization of Sarah Palin's fame-hungry family as "Kardashians, but with a North Woods angle."

Also, there's "Bachmann, still the faithfuls' faithful fighter / Emerged as Palin lite--or even liter."

And Donald Trump, "a loud performance artist / At boasting he's the richest and the smartest."

Newt Gingrich gets lots of attention: "Both wives Newt cheated on and left were sick; / He'd shown the moral standards of a tick."

Some of the titles are inspired. Chap
Connie  Kuntz
Dec 29, 2012 Connie Kuntz rated it really liked it
This is a very enjoyable and educational way to visit the highlights and lowlights of the 2012 Presidential Election. It is written almost entirely in humorous lyrical poetry, but has a few prose pieces as well. The fictitious story about Calista Gingrich concealing her cough so that Newt doesn't leave her is definitely one of the book's funniest highlights. Do I mention that with a tinge of regret? Personally, yes. Politically, no.

The author also does an incredible job of capturing the pendulo
Dec 26, 2012 Marvin rated it liked it
Amusing account of the 2012 presidential campaign, mostly in verse, with occasional entertaining sidebars with suggested tunes to which they can be sung. A fun Christmas gift from my kids that took only a couple of hours to read.
Aaron Wolfson
Dec 20, 2012 Aaron Wolfson rated it really liked it
Didn't know if I'd enjoy
Political verse from Trillin
Came to find out that
His style is illin'

A light summary of
The past four years
Brought out delight
And chuckles if not tears

And despite the odd bit
Of tortured wordplay
In your mind Calvin's recap
Is sure to hold sway
May 28, 2013 Madison rated it it was amazing
Dogfight is a book of political poetry written by writer Calvin Trillin. It focuses on the 2012 presidential campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I loved this book. To be honest, I liked it so much it made me giddy at times. The verse is so clever and the subject matter is unique. I could not stop reading.
The book is divided up into chapters on things such as Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and the Republican’s search for a Vice Presidential candidate. These chapters contain poems on t
Khaoi Mady
Apr 09, 2015 Khaoi Mady rated it liked it
HS Book in Verse

Calvin Trillin. Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse (2012). The book in verse focuses on the 2012 election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and the events leading up to the election. The author uses clever rhymes and humor to tell the story. The book is divided into chapters and uses people to divide some topics of the 2012 election, like Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Michelle Bachmann, to name a few. The topics include things like, Mitt’s secretly recorded
Jan 09, 2013 JB rated it it was amazing
Welcome back satire, Dear old friend where have you been?

Calvin Trillin presents some of the funniest reading I've had in a while in what boils down to a poetic epic, but instead of adventure, it's pure comedy. The poem starts in 2008 and talks of the general elation throughout the U.S. with our shallow optimism of the election. Then we skip ahead to 2010, with the Tea Party's emergence and the set up for the main event of the poem, the road to the 2012 election and the election itself. The poe
Kim Olson
Apr 02, 2013 Kim Olson rated it liked it
This book had been in my stack for a while, but it was actually interesting to read it after having gotten some distance from the 2012 Presidential election. I'd nearly forgotten the craziness of those primaries and all the characters who wandered through--the candidates and those on the periphery.

Anyway, this is a collection of Calvin Trillin poems that document that time. If you aren't familiar with his style, here's a little sampler:

Though voters, polls show, think Obama is cool
and Romney is
John Orman
Jul 30, 2013 John Orman rated it liked it
One can gather from the poems collected here that the 2012 campaign was far more about the Republicans than the Democrats. With the Democratic nominee not in doubt, I guess that makes sense. But that also puts everything that the administration does subject to scrutiny as a campaign issue, and that scrutiny is not applied here.

And no need to ask which side Calvin Trillin favored. All Republicans are slashed, Obama gets a pass. OK, that first debate is remarked upon as being a sub-par performance
Mary Miller
Dec 26, 2013 Mary Miller rated it really liked it
Mr Trillin's poetry may not be of the highest order, but he uses it to good effect to tell the story of the Campaign of 2012 from a mostly liberal point of view. Quite frankly, most of the political actions and shenanigans were on the Republican side, and Mr. Trillin turns much of it to humorous use. As Shakespeare, might say, "What fools these mortals be". If you have allowed the extended Republican campaign--Pawlenty, Bachman, Cain, Perry, Gingrich and Santorum--to slip from memory, Trillin wi ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Selam rated it liked it
My main criticism is directed towards the layout of Calvin Trillin's poems. Seriously, how could one stay focused on the book's main poems while brief ones are randomly inserted, separated with a half-box? Having to go back and re-read those random tidbits can get rather irritating chapter after chapter. Do not repeat this in your 2016 anthology, Trillin!

Otherwise, Dogfight is a humorous trip down memory lane and Trillin has a pleasant time illustrating the silly ridiculousness of the 2012 elec
Apr 24, 2013 Louis rated it it was amazing
Calvin Trillin’s Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse is a satirical yet insightful perspective on the 2012 Presidential Campaign. Trillin. Covering the 2008, 2010, and focusing on the 2012 elections, Trillin’s skewers the absurdity of the 2012 Republican primary process, as well as the general election. Among other gems is the “I’ve Got the Mitt Thinks I’m a Moocher, a Taker Not a Maker, Blues” and Trillin’s digs at Sheldon Adelson and Newt Gingrich are priceless. This book is crea ...more
Jerry Landry
Jan 08, 2013 Jerry Landry rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
Calvin Trillin’s recap of the 2012 presidential campaign in poetic form was quite interested and at times, I found myself laughing aloud and reading excerpts to my partner. Mr. Trillin’s political leanings are quite clear and little space is actually devoted to the incumbent president, but the Republican primary provided too much fodder for humor to not include the missteps of Perry, Bachmann, Gingrich and the like. An entertaining and pretty quick read that I would recommend to liberals and mod ...more
Dec 21, 2012 Joel rated it liked it
A funny play-by-play style history of the 2012 election cycle, but ultimately unmemorable. In a couple years time I may forget I ever read it, and will never revisit it (in the same way, I meant to read Trillin's verse history of the 2008 election, but lost interest as the period itself receded into the past).

Trillin makes no effort to provide any sort of objectivity, wearing his liberal convictions on his sleeve. As such various issues are presented without any sort of nuance or grace. In the
Jan 15, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Made me laugh all the way through. If you need a good laugh and don't take your politics to seriously then this is the book to read. I have requested several of Mr. Trillin books from the library and will put them on my wish list for this coming Christmas so I can cherish certain moments forever. I always delight in find a new author to add to my favorites list. Thank you Jon Stewart for your excellent taste in authors.
Jun 03, 2013 Sheldon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, politics, humor
I really wanted to like this a lot more. It is occasionally clever, with a few chuckles. But most of it was really just recounting the events of the 2012 presidential campaign with the gimmick that it's in rhyme most of the time. Nothing to do with portraying the participants as dogs, which was a really lost opportunity in selecting breeds and personality traits. Some minor charm, but ultimately disappointing.
Alaina Sloo
Who could have guessed that the most readable history of the 2012 presidential race ever written would be in doggerel?

It's not meant to be a teen book, but my 13-year-old son read it straight through it with glee and proclaimed it "Great!" I think it's worth offering to middle school and high school students interested in politics. (Warning: as a longtime poet for The Nation, Calvin Trillin has distinctly liberal leanings.)

Jul 24, 2013 Deb rated it it was ok
I've always loved Trillin, and own a couple of his humor collections as well as his previous collection of verse, Obliviously On He Sails (about Dubya). This one disappointed me a little. The verses aren't as nimble as usual - often very strained, in fact. And while some of it was acidly funny, much of it struck me as just okay. Given the inherent humor in the source material, I hoped for more.
Dec 08, 2012 Paula rated it liked it
I iked this book, but it didn't make me laugh out loud, the way the poems about George Bush did.

Maybe it was because of the personality of the Mittster--too bland, and thus not much that was colorful to write about?

But still, I did appreciate and enjoy the poetry, and the work it took to "poetize" some of the campaign events.
Stephanie Brown
Sep 10, 2014 Stephanie Brown rated it it was ok
I really, really wanted to like this collection of poems. There were some funny bits, but overall it seemed like he was straining to complete verses that sometimes barely rhymed. It had a weird rhythm to it overall. I also didn't like the main narrative poems that were interrupted by shorter poems. I had to keep flipping back to read the short ones, and that got old fast.
Kay Solo
Jan 05, 2013 Kay Solo rated it really liked it
This was a very clever book. I'm not usually one for reading poetry, but I got through this book in a very short amount of time. Perhaps it's my love of politics that aided me, but I digress. This book covers everything from Todd Akin's unfortunate statements to Joe Biden's performance at the VP debates. Overall a very funny book, one whose points are as amusing as the words used to convey them.
Dec 11, 2012 Marilyn rated it really liked it
This book was hysterical and I loved the rhyming. I found myself reading it out loud just so I could hear the rhythm of the rhymes. Even though this was written about the 2012 election, I think the poetry about the GOP would stand up today--3 years may have passed but the Republicans have not moved an inch. Calvin Trillin is brilliant in this format!
Jun 03, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it
This was a fun and silly book. It's biggest drawback was that I needed to relive the 2012 election. It was, in fact, almost as bad the second time. Calvin Trillin does the best one can with it, though.
Nov 30, 2012 Shira rated it liked it
An amusing read for political junkies. One of my favorite lines was "Callista Gingrich, aware that her husband has cheated on and then left two wives with serious illnesses, tries desperately to make light of a bad cough."
Jan 16, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it
While we were living through it, it seemed the horrible campaign would never end. But now, in retrospect and in rhyme, Calvin Trillin makes the whole thing as hilarious as it really was. Calvin Trillin is the Jon Stewart of doggerel.
Jan 20, 2013 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! I really wasn't sure what to expect with this one. It didn't take long to win me over with the clever verse and insight into the incredibly crazy 2012 election. Thank you for the only real laugh about the election.
Mar 20, 2013 kari rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
I'm giving this one five stars. Not that it is my favorite book, but try making up all those rhymes! Have to applaud that.
Fun re-telling of the 2012 election. All the actual factul stuff but told in poetic form.
Quick read and something different. I enjoyed it.
Russ Skinner
Dec 09, 2012 Russ Skinner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-politics
Not just a trenchant analysis, but in (rarely laboured) verse. Highly recommended. (Review updated with five-star rating; for some reason, my tablet wasn't letting me properly apportion stars this morning.)
Mar 09, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
Calvin Trillin's hilarious take on the last presidential election, in verse.
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Calvin (Bud) Marshall Trillin is an American journalist, humorist, and novelist. He is best known for his humorous writings about food and eating, but he has also written much serious journalism, comic verse, and several books of fiction.

Trillin attended public schools in Kansas City and went on to Yale University, where he served as chairman of the Yale Daily News and became a member of Scroll an
More about Calvin Trillin...

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“All White House hopefuls we forewarn:
You'll have to prove that you were born.
Before Trump hits the state of granite,
He must identify the planet
Where he first took on human form -
A place where blowhards are the norm.”
“Paull has his own style, which is folksy, not canned.
Religion? He's got one. His prophet's Ayn Rand.
By Rand's eerie theories he's fervently gripped,
So he won't do flip-flops. He long ago flipped.”
More quotes…