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Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld

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Until now, the poetry of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been hidden, "embedded" within comments made at press briefings and in interviews. His preferred medium is the spoken word, and his audience has been limited to hard-bitten reporters and hard-core watchers of C-SPAN. Just as The Iliad and The Odyssey were spoken aloud by many bards, in many variations, Until now, the poetry of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been hidden, "embedded" within comments made at press briefings and in interviews. His preferred medium is the spoken word, and his audience has been limited to hard-bitten reporters and hard-core watchers of C-SPAN. Just as The Iliad and The Odyssey were spoken aloud by many bards, in many variations, before Homer captured them on paper, the Rumsfeld improvisations have finally met up with their perfect editor/enabler. Hart Seely, coeditor of O Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto, uncovers the gems hidden within hundreds of hours of Rumsfeld commentary, in the form of Zen verse, haiku, sonnets, lyric poetry, and free verse. In addition, Seely's sharp sleuthing has uncovered two thematic collections: Rumsfeld's Songs of Myself, and Nine Poems on the Media. The result is a hilarious and irreverently revealing book both by and about one of the world's most powerful men.


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Until now, the poetry of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been hidden, "embedded" within comments made at press briefings and in interviews. His preferred medium is the spoken word, and his audience has been limited to hard-bitten reporters and hard-core watchers of C-SPAN. Just as The Iliad and The Odyssey were spoken aloud by many bards, in many variations, Until now, the poetry of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been hidden, "embedded" within comments made at press briefings and in interviews. His preferred medium is the spoken word, and his audience has been limited to hard-bitten reporters and hard-core watchers of C-SPAN. Just as The Iliad and The Odyssey were spoken aloud by many bards, in many variations, before Homer captured them on paper, the Rumsfeld improvisations have finally met up with their perfect editor/enabler. Hart Seely, coeditor of O Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto, uncovers the gems hidden within hundreds of hours of Rumsfeld commentary, in the form of Zen verse, haiku, sonnets, lyric poetry, and free verse. In addition, Seely's sharp sleuthing has uncovered two thematic collections: Rumsfeld's Songs of Myself, and Nine Poems on the Media. The result is a hilarious and irreverently revealing book both by and about one of the world's most powerful men.

30 review for Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Donald Rumsfeld was a fucknut. Old, wrinkly, weird-looking, and you could just tell by looking that he probably smelled like fish oil. But, Good Lord, could that guy say some amazing shit. I often found great joy listening to his press conferences because they were so amazingly fucked up... and yet, profound. Like this rather famous gem, taken from a Feb. 12, 2002 Department of Defense briefing: "As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known u Donald Rumsfeld was a fucknut. Old, wrinkly, weird-looking, and you could just tell by looking that he probably smelled like fish oil. But, Good Lord, could that guy say some amazing shit. I often found great joy listening to his press conferences because they were so amazingly fucked up... and yet, profound. Like this rather famous gem, taken from a Feb. 12, 2002 Department of Defense briefing: "As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know." Brilliant! Genius! It sounds like incoherent bullshit, but listen to it again. Better yet, read it aloud. This shit is best appreciated the way Rummy intended: spoken word. Thankfully, Hart Seely had the hindsight to compile the best of Rummy's verbal masturbation in this short book, "Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld". Seriously, it's a joy. We've seen how our illustrious President Obama, his cronies, and his Republicans detractors have all mastered the Art of Bullshit, but to really see (and hear) a Master Debater, one must look toward Rummy. I leave one more fantastic little diamond of a haiku, from a Feb. 28, 2003 DoD briefing: "Needless to say, the president is correct. Whatever it was he said." Seriously, I'm getting misty-eyed just writing that...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Transformation Let me just say one last word About this word transformation. It leaves an impression That you start in an untransformed state, And then you transform And become a transformed state. Life isn't like that. Life is dynamic, It's changing, And really it's transforming. How fabulous is that?! I miss Rummy so much! The entire collection is direct quotes from Rummy (that one was from a 3/6/2003 Pentagon town hall meeting), laid out in a format that better suits them than standard prose...

  3. 5 out of 5

    AndreaZ

    This Memorial Day, I did not hang up my flag in the front yard. I stayed inside and watched the documentary, No End in Sight. It is about the beginning of the Iraq war, and we are still there in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, a dozen years later. No End in Sight contained some footage of Rumsfeld, and I had forgotten what an a$$hole he was, or at least the memory had dimmed somewhat. It reminded me that someone had published a book of Rumsfeld's "poetry," so I checked it out from the This Memorial Day, I did not hang up my flag in the front yard. I stayed inside and watched the documentary, No End in Sight. It is about the beginning of the Iraq war, and we are still there in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, a dozen years later. No End in Sight contained some footage of Rumsfeld, and I had forgotten what an a$$hole he was, or at least the memory had dimmed somewhat. It reminded me that someone had published a book of Rumsfeld's "poetry," so I checked it out from the library, and it did not disappoint. After I learned that Rumsfeld is INTJ, I had a smidge more tolerance and understanding for him, and I could laugh more easily at his bizarre and condescending sound bites. I can relate to: Me I'm brusque. I'm impatient. It's genetic. I can't help it. Rumsfeld's mangling and incomprehensible use of metaphor alone is worth checking out. This should be standard classroom reading on how not to do it. On the other hand, I wish sonnets flowed as easily from my tongue. Side note: I also thought it was appropriate that this is my 666th book for GoodReads!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Of all the books that document the oral words of a politician, transcribed and edited into odes, sonnets, haiku, and, ahem, "lyrical" poetry, this ... is one of them. Thank you, Mr. Rumsfeld, for your Homeric contributions.

  5. 5 out of 5

    William

    Never was there an individual more appropriate for this kind of treatment. Four stars, merely because it was published in 2003 and misses out on another three years of Rummy material.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    It's amazing to think every poem was based on something Rumsfeld actually said. This book and Nick Asbury's Corpoetics have inspired me to do a found poetry project. So hilarious!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    "Needless to Say Needless to say, The president is correct. Whatever it was he said." ...and many more - great concept!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    When dealing with a difficult client who reluctantly gave us requirements for the project, time and again, I happened to mention that we have "known unknowns and unknown unknowns ..." My boss asked me to quit being so Rumsfeldian. But truly folks, Mr. Seely has taken Rumsfeldian rhetoric, verbatim, and created a comical yet serious selection of "poems" that do indeed question truth, reality and existence itself like no other thoughtless person could.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    The great thing here is not that Rumsfeld's evasive ramblings can sometimes hint at something greater -- the great thing is that Seely has managed to put together some genuinely good poetry here. Thoughtfully done.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Pull on your incontinence trousers...: You may well need them. This is utterly hilarious. Seely's recognition of the Zen-like Beyond BushSpeak non-logic of Rumy (not to be confused with the actual poet Rumi!) is masterfully explored in this stunning volume. Any American politician who states openly on TV that it didn't really matter if the UK did not come on board for the invasion of Iraq - as the Brits were preparing to commit their land, sea and air forces to a joint invasion force - has to Pull on your incontinence trousers...: You may well need them. This is utterly hilarious. Seely's recognition of the Zen-like Beyond BushSpeak non-logic of Rumy (not to be confused with the actual poet Rumi!) is masterfully explored in this stunning volume. Any American politician who states openly on TV that it didn't really matter if the UK did not come on board for the invasion of Iraq - as the Brits were preparing to commit their land, sea and air forces to a joint invasion force - has to be examined closely - for any neural activity, for example. Hate him or hate him, Rumy has his Own Way of confusing the unwitting with his non-linear Joycean paradigms. Bush Snr. set the standard with his neologism-ridden BushSpeak, but clearly Rumy has turned out to be the Master of the Absurd. The scary part about this 'existential poetry' is that much of it was lifted as is, and there are many literal quotes, however mind-tricking the meandering, Lewis Carroll on downers logic appears to become. C. Colt's review is a work of art in itself and the best analysis of this Major Force in modern poetry I have yet read. But then, I have yet to read Rumy's psychiatric evaluations. Man, know thyself - Aristotle Uh? - Donald Rumsfeld.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Pretty okay, though not as biting as I was expecting. Still worth a read. My friend whom I read it to loves it. :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Light and funny.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Noah Weingarten

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steve Spinks

  15. 4 out of 5

    John

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tsion

  17. 4 out of 5

    Justin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gudfala

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom Booker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michal

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Allred

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jaimee Clements

  25. 5 out of 5

    Asad

  26. 5 out of 5

    Max

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Vancil

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

  29. 5 out of 5

    Devin

  30. 5 out of 5

    DBC

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