Saturday, August 20, 2016

Be His Guest

Today is the 135th birthday of Edgar Guest.  Born in England, he came to America as a child and ended up working at the Detroit Free Press.  He became one of the most popular poets of the early 20th century, and was made Poet Laureate of Michigan.

He was (and is) also sort of a joke--a shallow, sing-songy, clichéd, workmanlike poet that no serious person could like.  As Dorothy Parker put it: "I'd rather flunk my Wassermann test/ Than read a poem by Edgar Guest." (In case you're not sure, a Wassermann test checks for syphilis.)

But hey, he wrote poetry people liked, and many still recite.  How common is that?  Here are some examples of his work, including his most famous work, "Home."


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