Reviews: Over the Pachyderm Rainbow

Jennifer C. Wolfe’s Over the Pachyderm Rainbow: Living in an Elephant-Controlled 2010 Election Diorama is a liberal political commentary in stanza form. The work primarily functions as a satirical criticism of extremist right-wing views and references political figures, policies, and events from over the past decade. Wolfe covers healthcare issues, immigration policies, and the War on Terror, among other topics.

Wolfe’s poems read like borderline prose-poetry and describe her views on the Republican role in government using satire and political jargon that might go over the heads of readers who don’t pay attention to politics. This focus on content suggests that her goal is either to relay information or make a point, likening her work to a poetic form of journalism, where her poems function as conveyors of fact and opinion as well as manipulations of language and rhythm. “Recipe for Tea Party Iced Tea,” “The Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas Pledge of Allegiance,” and “Not Quite the Monkees” (a re-purposing of the song “Last Train to Clarksville”) particularly stand out for cleverness and creativity of concept.

Readers who intently follow the intricacies of current politics and agree with Wolfe’s portrayal of today’s Republican icons–such as George W. Bush, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sarah Palin–as absurd, close-minded buffoons will revel in her biting debunkery of their empty-headed ravings and fans of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report will enjoy the way that Wolfe intelligently transcribes the feelings I’m sure that many Democrats and more liberal Republicans share.


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