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January 2019 Notable Maryland Author Ogden Nash

Frederic Ogden Nash (1902 - 1971)

I am a conscientious man, when I throw rocks at seabirds I leave no tern unstoned.” 

Nash was born in Rye, New York and attended and then dropped out of Harvard after one year.  He worked on Wall Street and then as a teacher before becoming a copywriter. In 1925, he took a job in the marketing department with Doubleday publishing house. 

Throughout his life, Nash loved to rhyme. "I think in terms of rhyme, and have since I was six years old," he stated in a 1958 news interview. Nash published Hard Lines, his first collection of poems, in 1931. The book was a tremendous success allowing Nash to quit his job. He married and had two children. In 1932, Nash devoted himself to verse full-time. Ogden Nash moved to Baltimore in 1934. In the 1950s, Nash focused on writing poems for children, including the collection Girls Are Silly. One of his best known lines is ”If called by a panther / Don’t anther.” With his unconventional rhyming schemes, he was declared the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry. Nash died in 1971 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

Genre: Poetry - Light Verse

This type of poetry attempts to be humorous.  The poems are usually brief , can be on a frivolous or serious subject, and often feature word play, including puns, adventurous rhyme, and heavy alliteration. Limericks are also light poetry.

A partial reading list includes: Everyone But Thee and Me; Girls Are Silly; Verses From 1929 On; Versus; I’m a Stranger Here Myself; Hard Lines.  You can read his poems online at:

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

Maryland Writers’ Association (MWA) invites you to have fun writing light verse using up to 100 words.  Because light verse can be short, you may submit up to three poems for this prompt. Pick your own frivolous topics and have fun rhyming and playing with words. Submit your Fun With Words submission by the 20th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  Selected submissions may be published the following month.

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