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Calvin Trillin defends his Chinese food poem in the New Yorker

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The 80-year-old writer is facing accusations of racism (at worst) and tone-deafness (at best) over his poem about Chinese food in the New Yorker

It hasn’t been a good week for America’s octogenarian literary icons.

Hard on the heels of legendary journalist Gay Talese’s much-critiqued failure to name a single inspirational female writer, 80-year-old writer Calvin Trillin is facing accusations of racism (at worst) and tone-deafness (at best) over his poem about Chinese food in the latest issue of the New Yorker.

dear @NewYorker: this calvin trillin poem isn't only offensive it's also just... bad. https://t.co/KCAUpQTiKg

@MrsTomSauter The meter is TERRIBLE. If you're going to write doggerel at least make it rhythmically consistent.

“This longing for a time of chow mein – which is, as I’m sure the food writer knows – a westernized dish – is a longing for the days of a white planet. Those days when we white people comfortably held power, when they made food for us, when the only fear was the fear of another cuisine to conquer, the days before we had to ask ourselves stuff like – does this poem rest on an unexamined racist sentiment?”

don't say, "it's self-aware parody!" just say: "I accept this has no value except as an example of failure." truth + precision are best :D

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