Presidential Poetry

I missed this the first time around, but apparently “President Bush wrote a poem”: It’s not clear whether he actually submitted it to The Missouri Review, but in any case they have taken the trouble of writing him a “very nice rejection letter”: that deconstructs (in the technical sense) his lyrical effort. A short excerpt:

We first observe this ambiguity in the third line of the poem: “Oh my, lump in the bed.” The placement of the comma forces the reader to hesitate. In the context of the opening couplet (“Roses are red/Violets are blue”), we expect the comma to follow the interjection´┐Żas follows: “Oh, my lump in the bed,/How I’ve missed you.” Note how this would allow the lines to fit the traditional rhythm of a “rose poem.” Had the line been punctuated in this manner, we might be able to read “my” as a possessive adjective, the speaker laying claim to (or reclaiming) his lover, which would be in keeping with the dramatic situation. But given the punctuation and awkward placement of the comma, we must ask, does this instability in the phrase signal instability in the relationship? His lover recently returned from the arms of another, is the speaker himself uncertain now of his claim to her love? Or does it indicate a healthy obsession with the morning salute of a “little Commander-in-Chief” (as one staff member suggested)?

Via “Bookslut”: