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Best Celebrity Poems
Best Celebrity Epigrams and Quotes
Best Celebrity Tweets

collected by Michael R. Burch

This is a page of the best poems by and about celebrities. I have also included some of the best epigrams, quotes and Tweets by and about celebrities. Many of them are funny, some unintentionally so (for instance, the ones by Sarah Palin).

One of the founding fathers and a major celebrity of his era, Ben Franklin, was a talented coiner of poetic epigrams:

Little strokes
fell great oaks.
Ben Franklin

Early to bed, early to rise
makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
—Ben Franklin

Abraham Lincoln was an accomplished poet:

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.
—Abraham Lincoln, "My Childhood Home I See Again"

You are young, and I am older;
    You are hopeful, I am not—
Enjoy life, ere it grow colder—
    Pluck the roses ere they rot.
—Abraham Lincoln, "To Rosa"

Ronald Reagan was another president who was an accomplished poet. He wrote this poem as a teenager:

The best part was that I was allowed to dream.
Many the day I spent deep in a huge rocker
in the mystic atmosphere
of Aunt Emma's living room
with its horsehair-stuffed gargoyles of furniture,
its shawls and antimacassars,
globes of glass over birds and flowers,
books and strange odors;
many the day I remained hidden
in a corner downstairs
in Uncle Jim's jewelry shop
with its curious relics,
faint lights from gold and silver and bronze,
lulled by the erratic ticking of a dozen clocks.
óRonald Reagan

Sappho of Lesbos was one of the major celebrities of the ancient world. She is perhaps the first lesbian we know by name; in fact our modern words "lesbian" and "sapphic" derive from Lesbos and Sappho. She was quite modern in her sensibilities, as this wonderful epigram proves:

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!
Sappho, fragment 155, translation by Michael R. Burch

But she also could pack quite a poetic punch:

Eros shakes my soul:
a wind on desolate mountains
leveling oaks.
Sappho, fragment 42, translation by Michael R. Burch

Here are some modern epigrams by people who are justly famous. Please note that formidable women continue to coin stellar epigrams:

I'm not offended by dumb blonde jokes because I'm not dumb, and also I'm not blonde.—Dolly Parton
To err is human, but it feels divine.—Mae West
In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.—Albert Camus
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.—Eleanor Roosevelt
If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning.—Catherine the Great

Men seldom make passes
at girls who wear glasses.
óDorothy Parker

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me
than a frontal lobotomy.
óDorothy Parker

Albert Einstein was one of the most luminous celebrities of all time; in fact, it has been said that his face shone like an angel's. He was quite the ladies' man, and also a penner of wise and poetic epigrams:

Whoever set himself up as a judge of Truth is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.—Albert Einstein
There are two ways to live your life: one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.—Albert Einstein
Sit next to a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. Sit on a red-hot stove for a minute, it seems like an hour. That's relativity!—Albert Einstein
The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.—Albert Einstein

Muhammad Ali is another celebrity who is well-known for poetic epigrams:

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see.
Muhammad Ali

Mohandas Gandhi was one of the stars of peace:

If we are to have real peace in the world,
we shall have to begin with the children.
―Mohandas Gandhi

Will Rogers was one of the first star comedians:

An economist's guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's.—Will Rogers
Make crime pay. Become a lawyer.—Will Rogers
A fool and his money are soon elected.—Will Rogers
I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.—Will Rogers

Marilyn Monroe was one of the world's major celebrities, but she was no dumb blonde bimbo, as her epigrams prove:

What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course!óMarilyn Monroe
It's not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on.óMarilyn Monroe
I've been on a calendar, but never on time.óMarilyn Monroe
I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one.óMarilyn Monroe
If I'd observed all the rules I'd never have gotten anywhere.óMarilyn Monroe
Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.óMarilyn Monroe
Men are so willing to respect anything that bores them.óMarilyn Monroe
Before marriage, a girl has to make love to a man to hold him. After marriage, she has to hold him to make love to him.óMarilyn Monroe
It's all make believe, isn't it?óMarilyn Monroe
I don't want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.óMarilyn Monroe
Dreaming about being an actress, is more exciting then being one.óMarilyn Monroe
I have too many fantasies to be a housewife. I guess I am a fantasy.óMarilyn Monroe
You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself.óMarilyn Monroe
A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before she is left.óMarilyn Monroe
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.óMarilyn Monroe
If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.óMarilyn Monroe
I've often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull and little people.óMarilyn Monroe
I love to do the things the censors won't pass.óMarilyn Monroe
If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.óMarilyn Monroe
There was my name up in lights. I said, "God, somebody's made a mistake." But there it was, in lights. And I sat there and said, "Remember, you're not a star." Yet there it was, up in lights.óMarilyn Monroe

Before Marilyn Monroe, another sex symbol, Mae West, was speaking freely and honestly about sex and sexual relationships:

When women go wrong, men go right after them.—Mae West
Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.—Mae West
Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready to be institutionalized..—Mae West

Oscar Wilde was one of the original "bad boys." He served hard time in Reading Gaol for the "crime" of being flamboyantly gay. He was a talented poet, playwright and often-outrageous wit:

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.—Oscar Wilde
Men always want to be a woman's first love; women like to be a man's last romance.—Oscar Wilde
Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.—Oscar Wilde
Scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.—Oscar Wilde
Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.—Oscar Wilde, allegedly his dying words

But not all modern epigrams are gems of wisdom:

Refudiate, misunderestimate, wee-wee'd up. English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin words, too. Got to celebrate it!—@SarahPalinUSA

In the process of creating her Shakespearean Tweet, Sarah Palin either created a second nonsense word or borrowed it from another charismatic moron, whose identity must be concealed to protect the ignorant. Here's a cheeky rejoinder:

In her dreams, Sarah Palin is a refudiatin' Shakespearean wordsmith. But I don't give a Puck.—@CroweJam

And here's a poem of mine that was inspired by Palin's wordplay:

"pls refudiate!"
by Michael R. Burch

"Refudiate" this,
miffed, misunderstood Ms!—
Shakespeare, you’re not
(more like Yoda, but hot).
Your grammar’s atrocious;
Great Poets would know this.

You lack any plan
save to flatten Iran
like some cute Mini-Me
cloned from G. W. B.

Admit it, Ms. Palin!,
stop your winkin’ and wailin’—
only "heroes" like Nero
fiddle sparks at Ground Zero.

Or, as Edmund Conti says of America's new master communicator:

Sarah Palin likes to bleat
I am Woman. Hear me tweet.

Here's a more serious poem about a celebrity:

Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander

a poem for Barack Obama's presidential inauguration

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what's on the other side.

I know there's something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

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