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Ogden Nash Biography

(1902–71), New Yorker, Free Wheeling, Hard Lines, I'm a Stranger Here Myself

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American poet, born in Rye, New York; he attended Harvard University in 1921 and 1922. He established himself as a successful writer of light verse in the early 1930s, when he was a member of the editorial staff of the New Yorker. Free Wheeling and Hard Lines of 1931 were followed at regular intervals by many further collections, which include I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1938), The Face Is Familiar (1940), You Can't Get There from Here (1957), and There's Always Another Windmill (1968). I Wouldn't Have Missed It (1975) is the fullest of the various collected editions of his work. His highly idiosyncratic verse, much of which formed a sophisticated extension of the gauche idioms of naïve American poets in the folk tradition, enjoyed enormous popularity. Although he produced many polished epigrams, his most characteristic effects were achieved through the use of unusually long lines concluding with audaciously ingenious rhymes. His humour was often turned to incisive purpose in verse exposing aspects of social injustice or the underlying complacencies of American culture. He also wrote prolifically for children and completed The Scroobius Pip (1968), which Edward Lear left unfinished at his death. Among his other works was the collaboration with S. J. Perelman and Kurt Weill on the musical comedy One Touch of Venus, which was successfully produced on Broadway in 1943.

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