148 pp., 5 x 7 in, 50 color illus.
- Published: March 12, 2019
- Publisher: Terra Nova Press
A satire for our demented times, following the arc of Donald Trump's career as it bends toward injustice, hits it, and then sinks still lower.
Few politicians in history have deserved lampooning as richly as Donald Trump. And few have gotten their just deserts served up as deliciously as they are in The Trumpiad, a work perceptively characterized by Stuart Klawans as “a true epic about a mock President.” In their caustic, uproarious Trumpiad, poet Evan Eisenberg and artist Steve Brodner present a satire in verse for our demented times. Inspired by Swift, Byron, and Ogden Nash as much as by John Oliver and Stephen Colbert, Eisenberg sets the stage (“Muse, you're fired”) and then traces our hero from the murk of his ancestry in the form of his grandfather Friedrich (an enterprising immigrant who ran a bordello) to the latest presidential high crimes and misadventures.
Using a rakish, endlessly flexible five-line stanza he calls the Emilick—the love child of Emily Dickinson and Edward Lear— Eisenberg follows the arc of Trump's career as it bends toward injustice, hits it, and then sinks still lower. Brodner matches the poet punch for punch, in the spirit of such great satiric artists as Hogarth, Goya, and Daumier.
About the illustrator:
A regular contributor to the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, Harper's, Esquire, Playboy, Mother Jones, the Nation, and the Los Angeles Times, Steve Brodner has been hailed by Lewis Lapham as “a born arsonist” and by Edward Sorel as “incomparable…the best caricaturist around.” Widely credited with spearheading the revival of drawn satire over the past four decades, Brodner is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Hamilton King Award and the Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism.
This is the ballad of Donald Trump,
A tale of greed and gall;
A tragedy birthed before our eyes—
A man, his money, his mouth, his rise
And if there's a God, his fall.
A renaissance in the art of satire may be the only good to come out of Donald Trump's presidency. Evan Eisenberg's delectable Trumpiad—abetted by Steve Brodner's razor-sharp drawings—is a whacked-out high-rococo comedy to be cherished alongside Alec Baldwin's and Melissa McCarthy's down-and-dirty burlesques on SNL. By channeling Alexander Pope's immortal takedowns of eighteenth-century manners and morals, Eisenberg has found a way to respond to our national emergency with uncommon wit, accuracy, and elegance.
Witty and wonderful.
If writing well is the best revenge, then Evan Eisenberg has exacted his full measure of vengeance in the Trumpiad, a true epic about a mock President. Deft and daring where its subject is bombastic, witty where he's whiny, crafty where he's crude, the Trumpiad calls down on the head of its chosen anti-hero a seemingly infinite variety of the poetic weapon that Eisenberg has devised especially for this purpose: a rhymed stanza that might be called a Five-Line Thumper. The Thumpers are like snowflakes, you'd think—each of them floating, crystalline, and unique. What fun it is to see Trump buried beneath their avalanche.
A must read (and laugh-till-you-weep) for our times. Puts the humor back in politics. And the poetry!
Sharon Dolin, winner of the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Some of the wittiest, most ingenious comic rhymes since Lord Byron ripped Don Juan a new one. As to their effective political power let me add: One never knows, do one?
Rafi Zabor, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
[A] mock epic to end all mock epics of our Gilded Orange Age… [Eisenberg's] stanzas—torrential, merciless, coruscating, and often irreproachably scabrous—bristle with Hudibrastic brilliance… [Brodner's] Zorroesque flamboyance in media from charcoal and ink to magic-hour Winsor & Newton… Go ahead, judge the book by its cover.
Trust Evan Eisenberg, whose The Recording Angel remains the finest meditation on recorded music, to recognize the deficiency of rhyme in the era of our Mad Monarch. If the merged couplets and quatrains of the Trumpiad convey the jests, however, it's the careful reportage that makes this the deliciously satisfying epic we wish we didn't need nearly as much as we do.