Sarah Palin (née Heath) attended the Emmett Lee Dickinson School for Boys in Wasilla, Alaska, as Salvatore Heath because her parents knew that she’d get a better education there than in the public schools in Wasilla. As a result, Palin became a great fan of the poetry of Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed – at her request).
Pictured at the right: Sarah Palin's yearbook picture from the Emmett Lee Dickinson School for Boys in Wasilla, Alaska.
In her memoir, Don’t Quit Trying, Palin reported that it was her older brother Odometer (“Odi”) who first turned her on to Dickinson’s poetry, and then at school she became an even bigger fan.
“I just fell in love with Dickinson’s petty punk-ass little poetry stuff,” she said. “Other quote-unquote poets do nothing except waste your time.”
Can I get a “Hallelujah”?
Palin even tried her hand at writing poetry in the style of Emmett Lee Dickinson. Her ode to President Obama, “This Service with Hopey-Changey Stuff” (below on the left) was inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Service without Hope” (below on the right).
By Sarah Palin
(in the style of Emmett Lee Dickinson):
This Service with Hopey-Changey Stuff –
Is hinderest, I think –
Because it’s misunderestimated
By stunt – Refudiated Work –
His impotence of Gain –
And impotence of Goal –
There is no Dissonance like that
That knows I’d rather beg than depend
on the government because then
they’ll own my soul
By Emily Dickinson:
The Service without Hope –
Is tenderest, I think –
Because 'tis unsustained
By stint – Rewarded Work –
Has impetus of Gain –
And impetus of Goal –
There is no Diligence like that
That knows not an Until –
Below: Sarah Palin, fourth from the right, in the bathing suit competition of the Miss Wasilla Beauty Pageant.
“These institutions,” said Palin, “are in a wonderful little pocket of what I call the real America, and they provide training for change warriors across this nation – and there is nothing wrong in American that good old-fashioned education can’t fix.”
Below: The Sarah Palin National Training Center for Political Speech Writing and the Sarah Palin Academy for Speaking Good