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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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A Week in Literary History

August 19th, 2002

American versifier Ogden Nash (I’m a Stranger Here Myself, 1938) is born in Rye, N.Y., 1902.

nashogden.jpgOgden Nash, b. August 19, 1902, d. 1971

Great light verse is impossible to define, but you know it when you see it, or, in the case of Ogden Nash, when you see and hear it. Nash has delighted generations of readers with his talent for gnarled rhymes, sometimes based on odd spellings (“awesome” and “blawssom”) but more often on bold, unashamed ingenuity, as in this representative sample from his collection The Private Dining Room:

The Caterpillar

I find among the poems of Schiller
No mention of the caterpillar,
Nor can I find one anywhere
In Petrarch or in Baudelaire,
So here I sit in extra session
To give my personal impression.
The caterpillar, as it’s called,
If often hairy, seldom bald;
It looks as if it never shaves;
When it walks, it walks in waves;
And from the cradle to the chrysalis
It’s utterly speechless, songless, whistleless.

Suggested Reading Verse collections Hard Lines, 1931. I’m a Stranger Here Myself, 1938. Good Intentions, 1942. Many Long Years Ago, 1945. Versus, 1949. The Private Dining Room, 1953. Marriage Lines, 1964.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

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