Robust Laughter will arise from these Verses for the Despotic Age of Trump
Last year, Tony Award winning actor John Lithgow released a playful book of satirical poems titled “Dumpty: The Age Of Trump In Verse.” The collection poked scathing fun at President Donald Trump as well as many of his supporters in Washington, all alongside illustrations from the author.
Now, Lithgow is back with a follow-up— a new anthology with an even more creative title, “Trumpty Dumpty Wanted A Crown: Verses For A Despotic Age.”
Like Lithgow’s first book, “Trumpty Dumpty” explores the chaos that is the current presidency through poetry. Only now, there are even more characters and topics to delve into, and Lithgow does so with humorous and timely poignancy.
Lithgow’s images take on the same style as those in the first book as well. The author noted in an interview that he grew up wanting to be a visual artist before falling into acting. Clearly, he’s never lost touch with his original passion. For this book, the pictures appropriately look like something out of an old-time newspaper; the author cites political cartoonist Thomas Nast as a primary inspiration.
More than a book of illustrations – prose and rhymes delight as well
As for the writing itself, Lithgow has always held a longstanding passion for stories and verse. The Harvard grad mentions that his father— actor/director Arthur Washington Lithgow—held immense skill in creating rhymes on the fly. Evidently, it must be hereditary, as John never misses an opportunity for cleverness in this cheeky collection.
The author finished writing the book in May, and he read some of the original pieces on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert several months back. However, the accompanying drawings took a bit longer to finish, and the publication process went right up to the bell.
Now that the book is out, though, many others are getting in on the fun. In an amusing promotional endeavor, Lithgow organized some dramatic readings from his celebrity friends. Fellow actors Meryl Streep, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Glenn Close all showed up, as well as a few figures on the political scene.
With the help of producers B. Swibel, Adam Westbrook, Adam Bankhead, and Tim Van Patten, the team created a series of videos with these notable faces reciting Lithgow’s zany words, the backgrounds all cartoonish facades in the spirit of Lithgow’s art.
Lithgow says that he had the time to write the book during quarantine, as Broadway theaters shut their doors and film/television productions took a pause due to the pandemic. Poetry kept him busy as the acting business went on hiatus. Only now are productions starting to pick up again. While Lithgow makes a stellar poet and a great humorist, he now looks forward to returning to the thespian world.
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