Friday, February 29, 2008

Quoting Nash's political verse

While not known primarily for his political satire, Ogden Nash didn't hesitate to wield it when so moved. Here is an excerpt from an unnamed Nash poem pertaining to the Japanese's aggressive occupations of the mid-20th century:

How courteous is the Japanese;
He always says, “Excuse it, please.”
He climbs into his neighbor’s garden,
And smiles, and says, “I beg your pardon”;
He bows and grins a friendly grin,
And calls his hungry family in;
He grins, and bows a friendly bow;
“So sorry, this my garden now.”

The poem is a lead in for an editorial in the on current border disputes & fears in Asia.

A Slice of Nash from North Hampton

The Portsmouth Herald of NH prints more articles about Ogden Nash than any other newspaper. Owing to Nash being a local hero from his summer residence there. Last week they published this amalgamation and noted the graffiti on the cemetery gate where Nash is buried:

f you take your dog for a run . . .

Thanks for picking up when you're done.

Nash didn't write it, but he would have loved it.

Talking Like the Rain

This is the name of a new poetry collection for children which includes Ogden Nash. The works were selected by X. J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy and illustrated by Jane Dyer

“Talking like the rain” is a book of some well known rhymes. All the poems in this book have a nice rhythm, interesting repetitive phrases, clever, creative imagery and there is never a dull moment. The poems are selected from authors such as; Emily Dickenson, Ogden Nash and Robert Louis Stevenson. The art work in this book is a beautiful set of water coloured images that relate directly to the poems on the page. " Read the rest of the review here.

Reviews of new CD with Ogden Nash Rendered in Song

Philip Schroeder has produced SONGS OF MY AFFINITIES which includes 8 Nash poems presented as songs. Based on the reviews it would be worth seeking out and giving a listen:

“These compositions are truly gems of the American repertoire. The settings are spontaneous and inextricably linked to the linguistic nature of the words; that is, the vocal line manifests the phonetic and semantic elements of the text while the ensemble orchestrates its content. The performances are all brilliant.” — New Music Connoisseur

“The allure of this fascinating song collection begins with the astonishing company of writers responsible for these texts. This disk amply demonstrates just how assured and inventive a song composer Schroeder has become. The masterpiece here is ‘Eight Songs on Poems by Ogden Nash,’ in which brilliant but very brief reflections on various animals are brought stunningly to life.... The disk concludes with ‘The Infinite in Repose,’ a prosaic essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson on self-reflection that Schroeder manages to set both clearly and compellingly, both in his sensitivity to the text and in his persuasive use of synthesizer for accompaniment... without detracting from the beautiful words of Emerson or from [Robert ] Best’s superb singing.” — Journal of Singing

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More Nash in the Sincerest Form of Flattery

There are, as I have posted previously, a fair amount of people who cannot resist emulating Ogden Nash's style and indeed channeling Ogden himself. In the Lost Lessons of Frederic Ogden Nash a gentleman calling himself Ogden El Nache writes nashesquian verse that careens out of control at times but is still good fun and provides wisdom for writers. It is on a blog called Cow Hampshire. Which, for those of you outside of New England, is how the Brahmins of the commonwealth tend to refer to their more agrarian northern brethren.

Online Memorial to Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash Day was August 19, 2002, the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Even in an age, when all things have a digital facet, I'm still surprised, pleasantly, to learn that 91 people have left personal messages for Ogden Nash next to his virtual grave site at Find A . Many remember his birthday, especially Laura , a librarian who shares her wedding anniversary with Ogden Nash's birthday and has sent him well wishes two years in a row.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Grateful for Nash during War Time

Here is a wonderful blog " WW2 LOVE LETTERS FROM LONDON" where this couple has posted their love letters from WW II. On August 8th, 1944 Glenn Burke wrote his wife Betty in Sacramento to thank her for sending him an Ogden Nash book:


It's fascinating to hear this soldier's voice on Nash 64 years later. He later writes about "Coffee with the Meal" which was part of the collection "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" published in 1938:

"I slept until about twelve thirty this morning and then laid in bed and read Ogden Nash. I sure like his stuff, seems like I can read it over and over and enjoy it just as much each time. A favorite of mine is “Coffee with the Meal”. which portrays the futile fight of a man to get “coffee with, coffee with, coffee with the meal” (he eventually gets it one hour later, in a demitasse!). That is typical of restaurants here, in old ones you can’t even have it at the table, after supper you go into the lounge for your coffee, in a demitasse!"

This Week's Oft Quoted

This week, author's found numerous reasons to share Nash with their reader's to help make their points.

Starting, appropriately, with a paean to Bartlett's Quotations, this Lima, News (OH) columnist cites Nash along with Twain & Thoreau as his favorite quote generators. "Although Nash gave the world the memorable “Candy/Is dandy/But liquor/Is quicker,” I think he was at his best when he used his verse to comment on human behaviors, as in “There are two kinds of people who blow through life like a breeze/And one kind is gossipers and the other is gossipees.”

Slightly southwest of Lima, Oklahoma advice columnist Malcolm Berko prescribes reading Ogden Nash to a reader with anxiety over the direction of the current U.S. economy. ( Light verse will save the Universe.)

In this poignant blog entry 'Anglophile' of Wisconsin cites Ogden Nash's poem 'Old Men' to help her reader's understand how it feels to watch your grandfather get closer to dying.

Valentines Day Spike

With Cupid's arrow ready to fly tomorrow, there is a high incidence of two romance oriented Nash quotes on the Blogisphere: 1) Candy is dandy, But liquor is quicker and 2) "To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you're wrong, admit it; Whenever you're right, shut up."

The former presumably being offered up to those looking to progress their relationship to a meaningful stage that evening and the latter being offered as guidance to those looking maintain marital bliss.

Here are a couple of examples: Thought for the Day on news aggregator Arcamax focuses on the more wholesome of the two recommendations. As does the UPI almanac and 'Maddening' in her live journal entry

In London's Independent an article called "Love bites: The naked truth about aphrodisiacs" cites Nash's view on liquor vs. candy.

Of Course Nash also wrote "To my Valentine" which you can read here.

Home is Heaven Gets Top Reviews

It's exciting to learn how people are re-animating Ogden Nash's poetry so that new generations can enjoy his works. The Pontine Theater in Portsmouth, NH just wrapped up a 3 day staging of "Home is Heaven: 32 Poems By Ogden Nash". A stone's throw from Nash's summer spot in Little Boar's Head, from all accounts it sounded like an amazing show.:

New Hampshire's Foster Daily Democrat published two separate full length features on the show's genesis in a chance meeting the producers had with those who knew the poet and how the show progressed to a full scale production.

Tamara Le's article calls Home Is Heaven: " National Endowment for the Arts-caliber entertainment" and focuses on the show itself.

Larry Clow's article details the story behind the show's concept and traces it's progress to the final staging.

The Portsmouth Herald's Tim Robinson raves that 'Home is Heavenly' and if you only see one show this year, make it this one.

The Portsmouth Herald's Jeanne McCartin offers local biographical insights from Nash's time on the NH seacoast and walks through the acts of the play and the background of the performers and it's first production five years ago.

I'm sorry that I missed this one!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Unpublished Ogden Nash Poem

Detailed below is a moving autobiographical poem Nash wrote towards the end of his life. I think it's beautiful yet grave, celestial yet down to earth, acquiescent yet inspiring, Shakespearian yet Nashesquian and passionately appreciate of life yet begrudgingly accepting of death. Obviously, Nash was a brilliant essential observer of the human condition . In this poem he clearly understands the characters and stage of his own body as well.


Enter, breath;
Breath, slip out;
Blood, be channeled,
And wind about.
O, blessed breath and blood which strive
To keep this body of mine alive!
O gallant breath and blood
Which choose
To wage the battle
They must lose.

~ Ogden Nash

This poem was sent to the publisher of by Nash's granddaughter Frances Rider Smith

Friday, February 1, 2008

Atilla the Pun Mentors the Next Generation

In the Berkshires Mountain town of North Adams, MA veteran poet and humorist Seth Brown is offering a four-week 'doggerel' course beginning Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The class will cover basic doggerel theory, limericks, Ogden Nash and how to create personalized light verse for special events, such as birthdays, weddings, toasts, etc.

Brown is a contributing editor to the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form, writes weekly limericks for, and previously held a rhyming column in the Providence Journal. His current column for the North Adams Transcript, "The Pun Also Rises," won second place in the New England Press Association's 2006 humor column awards. He is the author of three books, most recently "Rhode Island Curiosities" (Globe Pequot Press, 2007). He is fluent in pig Latin, which is his favorite language because everything
rhymes. His Web site is"

New Theater Production of Custard the Dragon

First produced at the Kennedy Center for Performing arts, New York City's Algonquin Theater Productions is reprising through their youth division a limited New York run of Ogden Nash's The Tales of Custard the Dragon: A Family Musical based on the popular books of acclaimed author Ogden Nash for four Saturdays only. February 16 - March 8, 2008.

This Week's Joy of Nash

In this day and age of mega-hyper- digital entertainment its always refreshing to learn of people across the blogosphere who are very satisfied to simply spend some quality time with Ogden Nash's works. 'She' from Delhi, India relished her Nash time here

And Nash's 'Winter Morning' was environmentally apropos as a caption for this photographer
as well as on this Jackson Hole, WY PBS TV broadcast where it was read by Lena Horn.

TIME's Cup of Praise Runneth Over

It's admittedly difficult to not burst out into emulative verse when you are writing about Nash. No doubt many Ogden Nash fans are genetically predisposed to rhyming from birth in any case. Not to mention that it's fun to do. Here is an excerpt of light verse about Ogden Nash from a 2002 TIME magazine post:

Let us grant an indulgence, plenary or perennial,
To Ogden Nash on his centenary, or centennial.
He trod 'mongst giants like Eliot and cummings and Thomas and Kazantzakis and Frost and Yevtushenko and Neruda and Schwartz (now all dead)
In a day when poets were not only renowned but read.
True, Nash did not quite roost in the exalted company of these Everest nest-dwellers,
But he published more than 20 volumes of extremely popular light verse, and if he dwelt in cellars, they were best-cellars.

The expansive version by Richard Corliss can be found by clicking here

Santa Claus May Not be Real

Santa Claus, as most people know him, may not be real. The virtual St. Nicholas Center out of Holland, MI is dedicated to discovering the truth. In presenting both sides of the case they rely partially on the Ogden Nash poem " Will The Real St. Nicholas Please Stand Up? —And Indeed He Did"
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