Excerpt from


If I have to be a playmate
In my time on earth
I want to be the girl
Of drifting leaves, cold cheeks

And passionate regrets.

Rachel Loden's Home Page

Rachel Loden at Poetry Foundation

Tad Richards on Rachel Loden

Nixon was not a popular figure to the American left, nor to much of the literary community, but Loden never uses him simply as the butt of jokes or diatribes. She is his amanuensis, he her muse, her id, even her lover. In one poem, "Bride of Tricky D.,"she marries him, letting neither his being dead nor already married stand in the way of their wedded bliss ("I find/his fierce beard lovely and the shadows/long. Asleep with Pat and Checkers/by his side ...")

 If Nixon is not the comic villain of Watergate, nor the serious villain of the blacklists, who is he? Loden's answers, over a series of poems and books (he is also the hero of The Richard Nixon Snow Globe) make him ourselves as much as the other, demon lover as much as scourge of the zeitgeist. With Nixon at the center, Loden spins out her web to ensnare other icons of his era, from Jayne Mansfield to Svetlana Stalin (in the manner of G. M. Hopkins: "it is/the blight you were born for,/it is a century you mourn for") to Little Richard to Philip Larkin, a complex, interconnected and richly comic universe.