These inimitable lines could only have been written by Ogden Nash, the American nonpareil of light verse and one of the most remarkable figures in American letters. His keen grasp of human nature and a unique style of verse made him, in the mid-twentieth century, the most widely read and frequently quoted poet of his time. For years, readers have longed for a biography to match Nash's charm, wit, and good nature; now we have it in Douglas Parker's absorbing and delightful life of the poet.
My garden will never make me famous,
I'm a horticultural ignoramus,
I can't tell a stringbean from a soybean,
Or even a girl bean from a boy bean.
Ogden Nash grew up in Savannah, Georgia, went to prep school in Newport, Rhode Island, dropped out of Harvard after his freshman year, and soon after started work as an editor with Doubleday. When he began publishing humorous poems in the New Yorker, and later when he worked at the magazine, he became part of the literary circle that included E. B. and Katharine White, Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, and S. J. Perelman. He went on to publish more than two dozen books of verse as well as screenplays, lyrics and scripts for the theater, children's stories, and essays. Douglas Parker, who has had exclusive access to family letters and diaries, and permission to quote liberally from them and from Nash's poems, has written a warm and inviting biography of the poet who reveled in pure whimsy and wordplay, but who was applauded by his more serious contemporaries. With 12 black-and-white photographs.