Stephen Colbert: Tonight, Americans, we are going to give me a round of applause for having a live poet, Claudia Carlson, on our show. With this book.
(Colbert runs and accepts wild applause.)
SC: So. I see this book has an elephant on the cover and the back cover says it is about your mother.
CC: Well actually...
SC: Your mother is an elephant?
CC: Uh no, she was...
SC: Plus, it says The Elephant House, don't you live in New York City, shouldn't you have called your book The Elephant Apartment House?
CC: Many of the poems are set in other locations...
SC: Places elephants live, like zoos and India?
CC: Close, yes, the Bronx Zoo as well as Baton Rouge and the Grand Canyon.
SC: You travel with a lot of trunks?
SC: You don't have many political poems in your book, why is that?
CC: That isn't my focus...
SC: Why aren't you writing true blue American ditties? With this elephant on the cover I assumed you were. After all, you didn't write The Donkey House or Jackass Loser Democratic Diaries.
CC: I wrote the stories I had to tell.
SC: So why don't you rhyme everything? I thought poetry was supposed to rhyme. You know, "roses are red, pachyderms are gray, Colbert is hot, day after day."
CC: I write in free verse and...
SC: No you don't, the book costs $12.95, that's only close to free if you're a European tourist. So. You also interview dead people such as the artist Goya and scientist Mendel. And people like Bluebeard and Sleeping Beauty.
CC: Well I prefer to think of it as a creative visit.
SC: Like what I do?
CC: But with more metaphors.
SC: And more elephants. Tell me, do you have many in your closets? In your jello?
CC: I try to not forget them.
SC: Well, we won't forget you, and America, go out and put (or elect) an elephant in your house.