Elinor Lipman (@elinorlipman) chronicles the 2012 election season with a poem a day all in 140 characters or less.
"The best-kept promise of the campaign season,"
—Ron Charles, Washington Post
"First I laughed my way through Elinor Lipman's book of political tweets. Then I put my ear to the ground and listened to Molly Ivins guffawing from the grave. Lipman is a piquant poetic rock star! "
"This year, has there any better way to revel in the political process than to pour a cup of coffee, log into Twitter, and read one of Elinor Lipman's clever, catchy tweets about the race for the presidency? With humor, wit, and no small share of brilliance, Lipman has cataloged the 2012 election in delectable sound bytes that manage to capture what we're all secretly thinking”vÆin rhyme, and in less than 140 characters."
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Lone Wolf and Sing You Home
"If brevity be The soul of wit/ Then Elinor has A surefire hit."
"Devilishly and deliciously witty. We could all use a laugh a day and Elinor Lipman has given me that."
"It's nice to see that Lipman's wit has escaped the hell of Twitter and collected itself in a book."
—Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom
"A devotion of fearless, sassy, sublime insights, that should be carried into the voting booth of our daily lives&rdquoc each poem read again and again before any lever is pulled."
—Nikky Finney, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry
"So it has come to this! Of thee I zing. I love it."
"The only sane, smart and witty thing to come out of the Republican primaries."
"Jon Stewart in 140 characters — and in the morning. What could be better?"
"Winsome, witty and winning! I don't know how she does it!! "
"Elinor Lipman tweets like a nightingale with an eagle eye."
"Dorothy Parker, Ogden Nash, Calvin Trillin, and Elinor Lipman!!"
"Elinor Lipman is to tweets what Shakespeare is to sonnets."
"There once was a Lipman on Twitter, who made every liberal titter."
"I'm beset with Lipmania."
"Wise and sassy and too fun to miss!"
A Note from the Poet
I apologize. Like you, I thought Twitter was for movie stars, egomaniacs, and nobodies in need of giving their inner musings a megaphone. Then I went to a social networking lecture in June of 2011--not because I was interested, but because the panelists were friends and I wanted to be collegial. They were all believers, and cited many examples of Twitter stars with hundreds of thousands of followers, cult-like.
“You’d be good at it,” one said to me on the way out. She mentioned “cleverness,” and “way with words.” And true to what an editor once confided (“An author never forgets a compliment”), I said I’d sign up/sign on--whatever one did.
I posted my first tweet a few days later, coincident with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcing passage of New York’s same-sex marriage bill. That was good; it didn’t reference me, my novels, or the chicken I was fricasseeing. I told my son I was Twittering. “Tweeting, Ma,” he corrected. Soon I had two followers.
The next morning, at my kitchen table, I thought: Political tweets in rhyme? I had bona fi des, didn’t I? I’d had a long rhyming faux valentine “from” Bill to Hillary Clinton published in Huffington Post, and a rhyming homage to Michelle Obama’s clothes that appeared on a website devoted to exactly that topic. I’d been obsessed with presidential politics since my early intense crush on John F. Kennedy, and I had published a series of blowhard op-ed pieces in the Boston Globe in 08. So without enough self-reflection, I pledged to post one partisan political tweet a day until the election. I should’ve counted how far away November 6, 2012 was (499 days) and I should have promised only a five-day week. But a pledge is a pledge. I used Yom Kippur 2011 as an excuse to take one day off and am desperately looking forward to Yom Kippur 2012.
Did I have a goal, other than entertaining my fellow political junkies? A book would be nice, I thought. I asked the editor of my novels, who murmured something about shelf-life and putting all her energy into my fiction. I did not, in bookselling parlance, go out with it. Facebook friends often wrote under my daily poems, “Book book book.” I wrote back, “Don’t think so, unless it’s construction paper and yarn.”
Then this storybook thing happened: In Boston, not long ago, in the middle of a very loud party, Beacon Press’s publisher and editorial director (translation: can make a book deal all by herself ) said, “Someone’s doing your tweets as a book, right”
I said “Why, no.”
“Well, I am,” she said. And exactly four months later, this preemie is born.
Actually, I love writing these. I love rhyming, that out-of-fashion art form. I am proud to have met syllabic challenges like “Blagojevich,” “Callista,” “Tiffany’s,” and to have rhymed “Santorum” in a believable context with “Purim.” I even like the 140-character limit. It’s easier now than it was at the beginning. I tell myself, it’s a daily trip to the mental gym. And no book of mine has been more fun in the making.
I chose my favorites and left out the random ones that stepped off the campaign trail. Actual headlines were added for context and to put the reader on the right bus to Crazytown.
P.S.--I am very fond of the Republicans who buy my novels, and I hope one day to win back their votes.
A Selection of Tweets
Michele is NOT a flake, Chris Wallace! God’s’ endorsement--plenty solace. The nerve you had* re her IQ. She went to Oral Roberts U!
*Bachmann to Wallace: apology not accepted * * *
I Skyped with Herman Cain last night, & asked if he’d be mine.* A tad uptight, he didn’t bite. His answer? “Nein-Nein-Nein!”
*before his lady troubles started. * * *
A landmark day! A joy to tweet, His evolution is complete. Go forth & wed! All “I do’s” equal! Don’t-ask-don’t-tell gets gutsy sequel.
- Click here to read recent Publishers Weekly write-up featuring Tweet Land of Liberty
- For an author interview in the September 4, 2012 ofShelf Awareness for Readers click here
- Click here to read a Q & A with Lipman in The Washington Post