Monday, December 15, 2008

Hark, the herald Angell sings

If no one minds, here's where we hail
Our friends Chris Beels and Christian Bale,
And folks whose names you knew we'd know,
Like Suri Cruise and Wayne Thiebaud,
Bristol Palin, Dakota Fanning,
Lizzie Peyton, and Peyton Manning.
Carla Bruni, comment ca va?
Et Georges Cluny -- connais pas?

If you instantly recognize the author of those lines, you are a devoted longtime reader of the New Yorker. And if you instantly rejoice over them, you know that their author, the venerable and sainted Roger Angell, has returned at age 88 after ten years in the desert to resume his annual light-verse tribute to names prominent in popular culture during the year.

Come Christmas, gang, we'll ask St. Nick
To not forget Nathaniel Fick;
Then drop requested toys and games
On Lolo Jones and LeBron James,
Plus lumps of coal from deepest pack
For Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
And candy canes enough to rain
Around the homes of John McCain.

If it is too icy for you to get to the corner newsstand to pick up a copy of the New Yorker to enjoy the rest of St. Roger's inimitable poem, you can have the next best thing in Dwight Garner's droll piece on Angell and his return to the fold of festive frivolity in today's New York Times. (Calvin Trillin told Garner that he was glad Angell produced the poem before Rod Blagojevich burst into pop prominence last week. What the hell rhymes with that?)

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