Michael J. Astrue is the best poet ever to hold a truly major appointed position in the American government. And A.M. Juster is the best senior civil servant of whom American poetry can boast.

The question, of course, is why this double life of a public persona? Why has this former head of a major biotech firm, a lawyer, and a public servant chosen to share the same shadow as this very private poet with the sensitivity of a W.H. Auden mixed with the scathing wit of a Jonathan Swift? An even more fascinating question is why Astrue has for so long insisted on keeping these two identities separate.

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