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February 21st, 2017 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 321,198 comments.
Biography of Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash (1902 - 1971)

A master of light, whimsical, and sometimes nonsensical verse, Nash started his writing career at Doubleday Page Publishers, where he wrote his first children's book with Joseph Algers, The Cricket of Garador, in 1925. After six years of writing advertising copy as an editor and publicist at Doubleday, Nash claimed, he began his career in humorous poetry by scribbling one afternoon. His scribbles were to become a poem called Spring Comes to Murray Hill, which he threw away. Upon some thought, however, he retrieved it from the wastebasket and sent it to The New Yorker. His first piece of satiric verse was published in 1930.

After "Murray Hill" Nash's work began to appear in other periodicals. He was prolific enough that he published a collection of his poetry, Hard Lines, in 1931. Hard Lines sold out seven printings in its first year and catapulted Nash into his role as the master of light verse. In 1932 Nash left Doubleday to join the editorial staff of The New Yorker. His steady and lengthy affiliation with the magazine helped establish its distinctive tone and sense of humor. According to poet Archibald MacLeish, Nash "altered the sensibility of his time." Even after the widespread reception of his first book, however, Nash still insisted that the whole thing was an accident. He had already become quite popular with the general public through his work in The New Yorker and "Information Please," a radio quiz show. Eventually he began to write full-time, publishing over two dozen books of poetry and prose in his lifetime.

In an environment in which people cared little about poetry, Nash managed to be one of the most popular and most quoted poets of his time, coining such phrases as "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker." His turn of the phrase, his puns, and his nonsensical rhymes appealed to people of all ages. While speaking in the Library of Congress auditorium, Nash suggested that the average man, surviving the perils of the nuclear age, needed not only missiles, submarines, and a fallout shelter, but also a few lighthearted laughs to save him.

Although the Atlantic Monthly heralded Nash as "God's gift to the United States" for his insightful commentary on 20th-century America, his work had international appeal. He was known as the Everyman of his time, the poet of the ordinary and universal. His poems were humorous not only because they made people laugh, but also because they contained some truth of human experience. His signature style used exaggeration, an element of surprise, and absurdity juxtaposed with the universal experience with which the average reader can identify. He was well regarded by critics and the public alike for his inventive titles, his unlikely rhymes, and his ridiculous play on words. Throughout his career a variety of publications from the Boston Herald to the Saturday Review of Literature sang critical praise for his work.

Although a great fan of Edward Lear and the limerick, Nash possessed a style that was very irregular indeed. Sometimes his poems contained only a handful of words; at other times they went on for several lines before ending in a clever or sometimes nonsensical rhyme. On many occasions he invented a word to fit the rhyme: "Each spring they beautify our suburb, the ladies of the garden cluburb" ("Correction: Eve Delved and Adam Span"). His other rhymes include such sets as nostrilly/tonsilly/irresponsilly ("Fahrenheit Gesundheit") and tortoises/porpoises/corpoises ("Don't Cry, Darling, lt's Blood All Right").

Not only are his lines and rhymes irregular, but the length of his poems varied greatly. Some verses would go on for pages at a time, while others began and ended abruptly in two lines. It is quite possible that Nash has written on of the shortest poems in the English language, "Reflection on a Wicked World": "Purity is obscurity." The themes of his poems varied wildly as well. From getting eyeglasses as an old man to traveling in Europe, no subject was too banal or far-fetched for Nash. His middle-class life and family provided no end of inspiration. He wrote of proud parenting, the folly of being a husband, suburban crowds, diets, vacations, fatherhood, and anything else he could think of.

Through his numerous volumes Nash became well established as a writer of light verse. Even after Hollywood expressed interest in his work, poetry remained his primary source of income. Although none of his screenplays were produced, his work was oppositioned several times, providing enough money for him and his wife to travel to Europe. Eventually he returned to the East Coast to continue writing verse. He also lectured extensively throughout the United States and England. Through his lecture tours he developed a deep respect and keen understanding of his fellow man, which his work reflected. His television appearances in the 1950s (such as "Masquerade Party") also helped increase his popularity.

Nash also renewed his interest in children’s literature in the 1950s. He believed that his writing was not just for kids, but rather lay in a gray area between child and adult worlds. In his numerous volumes for children, such as Custard the Dragon (1959), Nash continues his setting for universal truth. Nash’s approach to children is neither condescending nor mocking, however; in fact, his whimsical yet serious attitude toward the young has gained him respect among children of all ages.

When he was not writing poetry, Nash appeared on various radio game and comedy shows in the 1940s and wrote scores for TV shows in the 1950s, including lyrics for the show "Peter and the Wolf." In 1943 Nash collaborated with Kurt Weill and S. J. Perelman on One Touch of Venus, a musical comedy. He continued to write, publish and lecture until very close to the end of his life.



117 Poems written by Ogden Nash

The poems are by default sorted according to volume, but you can also choose to sort them alphabetically or by page views.

Volume | Alphabetically | [Page Views] | Comments | First Lines


Page ViewsPoemComments
37141 Celery Comments and analysis of Celery by Ogden Nash 13 Comments
21773 Very Like A Whale Comments and analysis of Very Like A Whale by Ogden Nash 8 Comments
19204 Last Night I Saw Upon the Stair Comments and analysis of Last Night I Saw Upon the Stair by Ogden Nash 44 Comments
15363 A Drink With Something In It Comments and analysis of A Drink With Something In It by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
15185 A Word To Husbands Comments and analysis of A Word To Husbands by Ogden Nash 44 Comments
14846 A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty Comments and analysis of A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty by Ogden Nash 5 Comments
12810 Adventures Of Isabel Comments and analysis of Adventures Of Isabel by Ogden Nash 29 Comments
12780 The Duck
12658 Fleas Comments and analysis of Fleas by Ogden Nash 9 Comments
11969 I Do, I Will, I Have Comments and analysis of I Do, I Will, I Have by Ogden Nash 48 Comments
11608 Always Marry An April Girl Comments and analysis of Always Marry An April Girl by Ogden Nash 6 Comments
11307 To My Valentine Comments and analysis of To My Valentine by Ogden Nash 3 Comments
11031 Custard The Dragon And The Wicked Knight Comments and analysis of Custard The Dragon And The Wicked Knight by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
10999 A Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor Comments and analysis of A Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor by Ogden Nash 4 Comments
10918 The Germ Comments and analysis of The Germ by Ogden Nash 25 Comments
9712 First Child ... Second Child
9472 Reflection On Babies
9463 The Perfect Husband
9232 The Ant
9224 The Porcupine Comments and analysis of The Porcupine by Ogden Nash 10 Comments
8718 Come On In, The Senility Is Fine
8702 The Jellyfish
8523 The Tale of Custard the Dragon Comments and analysis of The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
8345 The Dog Comments and analysis of The Dog by Ogden Nash 10 Comments
8230 Pretty Halcyon Days
8220 The Hippopotamus Comments and analysis of The Hippopotamus by Ogden Nash 3 Comments
8143 The Hunter Comments and analysis of The Hunter by Ogden Nash 8 Comments
8011 No Doctor's Today, Thank You Comments and analysis of No Doctor's Today, Thank You by Ogden Nash 4 Comments
7971 The Fly
7872 Tableau At Twilight Comments and analysis of Tableau At Twilight by Ogden Nash 19 Comments
7861 The People Upstairs Comments and analysis of The People Upstairs by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
7656 The Cow Comments and analysis of The Cow by Ogden Nash 9 Comments
7477 Grandpa Is Ashamed
7460 Crossing The Border Comments and analysis of Crossing The Border by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
7439 The Firefly Comments and analysis of The Firefly by Ogden Nash 6 Comments
7404 The Middle Comments and analysis of The Middle by Ogden Nash 4 Comments
7311 Just Keep Quiet And Nobody Will Notice
7308 The Romantic Age
7113 The Chipmunk Comments and analysis of The Chipmunk by Ogden Nash 4 Comments
6853 Look What You Did, Christopher!
6801 The Guppy Comments and analysis of The Guppy by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
6765 Old Men Comments and analysis of Old Men by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
6673 One Third Of The Calendar
6670 To A Small Boy Standing On My Shoes While I Am Wearing Them Comments and analysis of To A Small Boy Standing On My Shoes While I Am Wearing Them by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
6573 The Purist Comments and analysis of The Purist by Ogden Nash 5 Comments
6560 Family Court Comments and analysis of Family Court by Ogden Nash 12 Comments
6556 The Termite Comments and analysis of The Termite by Ogden Nash 7 Comments
6552 Old Dr. Valentine To His Son Comments and analysis of Old Dr. Valentine To His Son by Ogden Nash 6 Comments
6499 Song Of The Open Road Comments and analysis of Song Of The Open Road by Ogden Nash 3 Comments
6465 Requiem Comments and analysis of Requiem by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
6456 Lines Indited With All The Depravity Of Poverty
6384 Peekabo, I Almost See You
6364 The Catsup Bottle
6274 The Centipede Comments and analysis of The Centipede by Ogden Nash 29 Comments
6037 Oh To Be Odd!
5971 The Cuckoo
5937 The Wasp Comments and analysis of The Wasp by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
5884 You Can Be A Republican, I'm A Genocrat Comments and analysis of You Can Be A Republican, I'm A Genocrat by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
5875 The Shrimp
5776 The Abominable Snowman
5480 Biological Reflection
5283 À Bas Ben Adhem Comments and analysis of À Bas Ben Adhem by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
5130 The Ostrich
5099 Reflection On A Wicked World Comments and analysis of Reflection On A Wicked World by Ogden Nash 4 Comments
5060 Goody For Our Side And Your Side Too
5009 Introspective Reflection
4994 Winter Complaint
4970 No, You Be A Lone Eagle
4924 Portrait Of The Artist As A Prematurely Old Man
4867 The Cantaloupe
4866 Possessions Are Nine Points Of Conversation
4765 The Sniffle
4622 PG Wooster, Just As He Useter
4575 One From One Leaves Two
4526 The Clean Plater
4491 Lather As You Go Comments and analysis of Lather As You Go by Ogden Nash 11 Comments
4463 Kipling's Vermont
4408 So Does Everybody Else, Only Not So Much
4319 The Solitary Huntsman
4275 Listen...
4222 Good-By Now or Pardon My Gauntlet Comments and analysis of Good-By Now or Pardon My Gauntlet by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
4106 Reflection On The Fallibility Of Nemesis
4050 A Caution To Everybody Comments and analysis of A Caution To Everybody by Ogden Nash 473 Comments
3833 Samson Agonistes
3274 The Squab
2070 Soliloquy In Circles Comments and analysis of Soliloquy In Circles by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
2070 Tin Wedding Whistle
1640 Children's Party Comments and analysis of Children's Party by Ogden Nash 5 Comments
1457 Spring Comes To Murray Hill
1442 I Didn't Go To Church Today Comments and analysis of I Didn't Go To Church Today by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
1375 Lines On Facing Forty
1310 The Terrible People Comments and analysis of The Terrible People by Ogden Nash 3 Comments
1309 My Dream Comments and analysis of My Dream by Ogden Nash 4 Comments
1249 The Octopus Comments and analysis of The Octopus by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
1215 Lines To Be Embroidered On A Bib Comments and analysis of Lines To Be Embroidered On A Bib by Ogden Nash 9 Comments
1207 What Almost Every Woman Knows Sooner Or Later
1117 The Camel Comments and analysis of The Camel by Ogden Nash 24 Comments
1090 The Turtle Comments and analysis of The Turtle by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
1049 The Praying Mantis Comments and analysis of The Praying Mantis by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
1029 The Pig Comments and analysis of The Pig by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
876 Common Cold Comments and analysis of Common Cold by Ogden Nash 10 Comments
686 Reflections On Ice-Breaking Comments and analysis of Reflections On Ice-Breaking by Ogden Nash 1 Comment
678 More About People Comments and analysis of More About People by Ogden Nash 56 Comments
640 The Lion
521 Song To Be Sung By The Father Of Infant Female Children
460 Columbus Comments and analysis of Columbus by Ogden Nash 8 Comments
417 The Joyous Malingerer
352 What's The Use?
329 Reflection On Caution
288 Everybody Tells Me Everything
168 Bankers Are Just Like Anybody Else, Except Richer Comments and analysis of Bankers Are Just Like Anybody Else, Except Richer by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
74 The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus Comments and analysis of The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus by Ogden Nash 236 Comments
22 The Swan
12 The Eel Comments and analysis of The Eel by Ogden Nash 2 Comments
8 The Rhinoceros
1 Further Reflections On Parsley
1 The Parent Comments and analysis of The Parent by Ogden Nash 4 Comments


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