Sunday, September 11, 2011

NASH-ional TREASURE Events in Rye, NY

Disappointed at the lack of recognition that Ogden Nash has been given by his home town, novelist and Rye resident Alan Beechey has led an effort to organize two wonderful events at the Rye Arts Center.

On Saturday, September 17 from 10:00 – 12:00 pm there will be an Ogden Nash literary workshop for ages 8 and older. Participants will explore the words and unique styling of former Rye resident, Ogden Nash, through a variety of projects that incorporate both the literary and visual arts. The first half of this class, attendees will work to create their own poems and verses in Nash’s style. For the second half, they will create an original art piece inspired by their creation. Artwork will be on display during the September Ogden Nash event the following Saturday.

The cost is $30 for non-members. Space is limited. Register at the Rye Arts Center website.

On Sunday, September 25th, there will be a celebration entitled NASH-ional TREASURE at the Rye Arts Center featuring selected readings of some of his most popular poems, along with performances of music from “One Touch of Venus, which Nash wrote. Artwork inspired by Ogden Nash’s poetry, and created by the students of The Rye Arts Center’s art school, will be hung on the walls of the Performing Arts room as an accompaniment to his literary masterpieces.

Alan Beechey, is chairing the event. He will give a brief presentation on the history of Ogden Nash and the legacy that he has left for his hometown of Rye, NY.

Kudos to Mr. Beechey for his efforts to raise awareness and appreciation to Rye’s accomplished native son. He is further advocating creating a permanent memorial to Nash by renaming one of the town’s blandly monikered common areas to Ogden Nash Park. He outlines the case well for doing so in an OpEd in the Rye Record and on It’s surprising that no place in the world, much less his birthplace, has yes to dedicate a patch of earth to this poet who has brought so much joy to the world. Nash appreciated the individual connections he created with his readers and took time to show his thanks to fan mail with notes like this to Mildred Davis in 1941, who apparently requested an autograph:

This short, silly poem will never appear in a Nash anthology. But you can bet it was treasured by the recipient. It is one of dozens of individual letters to fans that I’ve read where Nash went above and beyond to show his correspondent that he was grateful to them and to make them smile. What star today would take the time today to compose a custom bit of their craft for a fan?

Other than a street in California, the only memorial I’m aware of is the bottom right hand corner of a window in St. Andrews by the Sea in Rye Beach, NH.

It so happens that a friend of mine was in that area last weekend visiting family. He visited Nash’s grave nearby in North Hampton and shared the snapshot below:

Hope you can join the celebration on the 25th and add your voice to effort to rename the Rye park in honor of Ogden Nash!
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