Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ogden Nash Online Contest Draws a Crowd

John Tierney's blog on the New York Times site recently asked readers to add a stanza to Nash's oft quoted work, Reflections on Ice Breaking.

The competition was launched to draw attention to the new scientific research touting that "Pyschologists report in Science that you’re more likely to think warmly of someone else if you’re holding something warm in your hand like a mug of coffee or tea." Tierney posits " At long last, we have scientific guidance regarding that great question of social lubrication: Should you ask someone to meet for a drink or a cup of coffee?"

Nash often serves as 'contextual color' for journalists and Reflections may be the most memorized poem in the English language:

Candy is dandy,
But liquor is quicker

The event drew 231 responses, far exceeding the average number of comments for this blog that seeks to validate new research with common experience. The ardent response to a 1931 poem from a science forum points to the universal appeal and cultural staying power of Mr. Nash's work.

My favorite entry in the contest:


No less so.

No word on the winner yet...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Local Nash: East & West, Young & Old

Ogden Nash's work was featured in a couple events I think he would have enjoyed attending himself.

The Parent- Child book club of San Diego's Rancho Peñasquitos Library met to discuss “The Tale of Custard the Dragon”. Nash's passion for writing about and for children likely inspired a stimulating and humorous conversation.

On the other side of the country and the life continuum...

In Portsmouth NH , a group of local writers and musicians presented an afternoon of poetry and music to seniors in retirement communities. The review "Surprised by Joy" featured the work of Ogden Nash, Shakespeare & Frost was conceived by Elizabeth Knies, Portsmouth's Poet Laureate. Elizabeth is seated in the back row second from left and looks fairly joy-infused, as does her troupe. Which was no doubt a contagious delight for their venerable audience. The poems reflected the stages of life from childhood to maturity. The readings were augmented by the "beautiful," "haunting," and "charming" cello compositions of Kristin Miller.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ogden Nash's Last Verse

"Frances, I love you" was not a rhyme but a simple truth for Nash since he met Frances in his early 20's.* Mrs. Nash went on to live another 23 years, active in volunteer work and enjoying her daughters and grandchildren. The Nash family plot in North Hampton, NH is shared by their long time servant, Clarence Collins. Frances and Ogden share a gravestone flanked by Isabelle and Clarence.

I'm very grateful to Amy Kane, for sharing these recently captured scenes of the Nash grave site within Little River Cemetery. Amy's beautiful words and pictures about coastal NH can be found on Atlantic Avenue. Click on the pictures to enlarge the details.

Photos Copyright Amy Kane 2008. Used with Permission.

*Last words according to his biographer Douglas M. Parker. The book 'Loving Letters from Ogden Nash' leaves little doubt as to Nash's passionate feelings for Frances over 5 decades.
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