John Donne? William Blake? Jewel? Nope, it's the words and wisdom of everyone's favorite Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfield. This Saturday night, the always rocking Noe Valley Ministry has a performance of "The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld and Other Fresh American Art Songs," a concert featuring the words of Rummy put to music by San Francisco's own Bryant Kong. The songs, sung by soprano Elender Wall (as in the “singer is a soprano”, not as in the “guy who got whacked is a Soprano”), features songs ranging in styles from baroque to cabaret to pop. He's since released a CD of the songs on his own indepedant label, Stuffed Penguin. Kong and Ms. Wall are doing a five city, twelve day tour which he calls his "Weapons of Mass Distraction Tour: Faze II."

Kong was inspired to write the music after reading humorist Hart Seely's book (Seely has called Rumsfeld's poetry "reminiscent of William Carlos Williams'…(his) gift for offhand, quotidian pronouncements is as entrancing as Frank O'Hara's"). In the book, Seely takes official transcripts of Rumsfeld's statements and turns them into haikus, sonnets, and free verse. Inspired I’m sure by the muses themselves, Kong decided to set some of his favorite poems to music. Somehow we don't see the Secretary as the Poetry Slam type, but maybe come next year when hopefully he's got nothing else to do, maybe he can lay some verses down on us at Lit Quake.

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