You’ve heard Terry Edmonds, even if you’ve never heard him. He’s written speeches for Donna Shalala, Bill Clinton and John Kerry, and now he has a wide-ranging interview at Gothamist. This passage in particular struck me:

We saw you described somewhere as “the poetry-loving speechwriter.” Do you like that characterization?

I love that, because poetry is my first love in the writing world. I think a speech is somewhat of a performance; it has to have a certain rhythm, a certain cadence, much like a poem. When I am writing a speech I am always conscious not only of the words, but also of the pacing and the rhythm of it. And then of course whenever I can, whenever it’s appropriate, whenever it works, I try to find a good poetic phrase or quote to emphasize a point.

It’s a great interview, ranging from corporate versus political speechwriting to where The West Wing misses the mark. But the best moment comes, not in the Gothamist piece, but at The Politicker, which recounts an anecdote about meeting Edmonds:

We remember Edmonds as the most modest guy in the world at the Democratic National Convention, where we shared a cab to Fenway with him without, at first, having any idea who he was….

“I’m a ghost, I don’t exist,” he told us at the time. “That’s my credo.”

We wondered whether he had a business card.

“I don’t have any, ” he apologized. “Because I don’t exist.”