Happy Birthday to Ogden Nash!
America’s favorite humorist would have been 109 years old today. His poems and witticisms are part of America’s DNA; at one time or another, we’ve all heard Nashisms like, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,” “Parsley is gharsley,” and, “Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.”
A shot of his light verse is the sure cure for doldrums of any sort. He’s one of those poets whose style is so recognizable that even when you encounter lines he’s written that you’ve never seen before, you sort of nod, knowingly, and think, “this has got to be Ogden Nash.” Who else so deftly misspells words (or makes up his own), packs in the puns, teases the reader with irregular meter and lines of uneven length? He took great pleasure in the element of surprise, pulling out all the stops for comic effect.
Not too long ago, I purchased a collection of his food poems aptly embellished with Etienne Delessert’s droll illustrations. Whenever I’m in the mood for a laugh snack, I treat myself to a serving of Squab, Tarragon, Smelt, or Kippers (things I wouldn’t necessarily eat in real life, but find strangely palatable cooked up in Nash’s literary kitchen). Thought it would be fun to celebrate his birthday by featuring what is perhaps his most well known food poem. Just for today, you may also have all the virtual candy and/or liquor you please. Continue reading