Quirky Books: The Best of Ogden Nash edited by Linell Nash Smith

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Best of Ogden Nash edited by Linell Nash Smith

Ogden Nash is a respected United States Laureate. His daughter Linell Nash Smith compiled several of Nash's poems into one book "The Best of Ogden Nash: 548 Favorite Poems from America's Laureate of Light Verse." With a poem for everyday of the year, he took the literary community with blunt force in quantity and distinctive voice. However, 548 poems are few when considering every poem has unique aspects and artistic license.

Living from 1902 to 1970 Nash worked as a comedian and collaborated with several famous authors, singers and university professors. Everyone has heard Nash's poetry. One famous line is, "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker." It is a short, yet poignant commentary on life.

He captured 50's Americana forever. Though a limited perspective, topical diversity makes it possible for everyone to feel a sense of shared experience. Fun quips and holiday verse, ordinary life shifts the intention to humorous observation. Sometimes poems are serious. The chapter entitled "the Curtain Rises" lacks part of the humorous undertone which made him famous. This comparison within his own body of work transforms him into a complete person who is not a simple joke machine.

Many facets of his poetry, an ability to describe a situation with depth, require personal life experience. He is not writing opinions from other sources, so a moment is captured on several levels, even when writing about reading or watching a show. There is a sense of watching the show with him in several poems.

This book is wonderful. It should not be read cover-to-cover. Pick it up and pick a poem. Read a few poems, write down the page number of favorites and focus on the interpretation. Conceptualize everything into a polite reflection, print-it-out and hang it on the wall. Anyone will find the funny wording motivational, so I recommend the book to everyone.

Poetry Breakdown
Christmas Hash by Ogden Nash
Halloween Hoodlums: Go Home! by Ogden Nash
Reflections on Ice-Breaking by Ogden Nash