Poetry. Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016, sitting in his car, listening to the news, Ken Waldman took out a notebook and wrote that this guy is going to make George W. look like a statesman. A few days later he turned that line into a sonnet, and by mid December had written 70 more, enough for a book. Titling it TRUMP SONNET VOLUME 1 was one of the jokes. Most of the poems were in the president-elect's voice, and though it was broad satire, Ken Waldman later sold a few copies to Trump supporters. That was another of the jokes.
Six months later he'd written VOLUME 2. Half of the poems were dreams Waldman imagined Donald Trump having. The other half, commentary. A year later he wrote VOLUME 3, THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION, with imagined voices from 72 countries. Another year, VOLUME 4, THE SHRUNKEN SOUL EDITION, a single unnamed day of sonnets, many in Trump's voice. The others were in voices from his orbit. That might have been enough but for COVID-19. Quarantined in rural Virginia, spring and summer jobs canceled, Ken Waldman again started writing in Trump's voice.
By late April he'd finished VOLUME 5, HIS EARLY VIRUS MONOLOGUES: seven 11-poem sections going from Monday to Sunday. The days begin and end with a dream. The poem titles count the sonnets he'd written since late 2016. He was up to 375. Writes Jared Yates Sexton about this book, "Perhaps no one has done a better job of chronicling the madness and absurdity of the Trump Era than poet Ken Waldman. These poems continue that project and find art and beauty in the cruelty and grift. When this crisis hopefully abates and people in the future look to understand how America lost its mind, they should turn to these poems, to Waldman's craft, for their lessons."
Ken Waldman has drawn on his 36 years as an Alaska resident to produce poems, stories, and fiddle tunes that combine into a performance uniquely his. Nineteen books consist of sixteen full-length poetry collections, a memoir, a creative writing manual, and a children's book. Nine CDs include over a hundred original compositions. Since 1995 he's toured full-time, appearing at a wide range of venues for a wide range of audiences, from the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, to the Dodge Poetry Festival, to the Woodford Folk Festival (Queensland, Australia), to leading concert series and colleges across North America. Author City: ANCHORAGE, AK USA