Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Billboard Industry Lashes Back

Joyce Kilmer* reported:

I think I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree...

Nash retorted:

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.

David Flint of Turner Advertising snorted:

Ogden Nash may never have seen
A billboard he held dear
But neither did he see a tree
Grossing 20 grand a year

Shameless. But I think Nash would have laughed along with him.

*I can see the spot where Joyce Kilmer taught school from my office window. Earth shattering I know. One of Nash's favorite poets, Dorothy Parker, also went to school within shouting distance of here...Hmmm...better alert the media.


Nancy said...

Just a question. I'm looking for a poem by Ogden Nash. It was put to music (probably by Bernstein?). The title is maybe "I'm a person, too".

Can you help me find it?

Unknown said...

Hi Nancy - I don't know of it, but don't let that discourage you. Nash was prolific and his works are in many places. I would suggest you try the curator of his works at the University of Texas.

Nancy said...


A quick hint on who to contact?

I'm in a bit of a hurry, since I would like to use this as a "hook" for a chapter in my dissertation on writing and identity. And the poem would be perfect. (What's not perfect is that I have to submit it within the next couple of weeks.)

I was very pleased to find your Blogden Nash site - whether I find the poem or not. I grew up in the US in the 50s and 60s and have fond memories of reading Nash and seeing him on TV from time to time. Also sang in a university choir that recorded a musical version of his "Nature". I've been living in Norway for the past 40 years, so I don't have much contact much with people who understand what it's like to have grown up with Ogden Nash as a part of your life.

Martino said...

When I was in junior high in Edmonds, Wa in 1964-66, our choir, directed by the wonderful Bev Severson, performed a medley of Ogden Nash poems, set to music by a music student named Frank Brzinski(?). The only ones I can really remember are Billboards, and Celery Raw Developes The Jaw

John said...

Hey Peter - That's pretty cool. 'Carnival of the Animals' could be Nash's most famous living legacy. It is performed hundreds, if not thousands of times, by schools and local theater companies around the country. It would be great to hear your classmate's rendition...

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