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Friday, November 14, 2014

Poetry Friday--The Steigs

Today is the anniversary of the birth of William Steig, the creator of such fabulous books as Dr. De Soto and Shrek! [both JP STE]. Steig was born in 1907 and passed away just shy of his 96th birthday in 2003. He wrote a book about what his life was like in 1916 called When Everybody Wore a Hat [J B STE]. Steig grew up to become a cartoonist and an author/illustrator. His brother Arthur was a artist, a developer and purveyor of art materials, and a poet (but not widely published as I only found one book listed in the Library of Congress catalog, Communication [1944]). William's wife, Jeanne (wife #4), was a poet, too. That's a whole lot of creativity in one family!

Jeanne and Steig collaborated on at least two illustrated books of poetry Alpha Beta Chowder, and, Consider the Lemming [J 811 STE]. Consider the Lemming is an book of short animal verses--light-hearted and a wee bit edgy. Here are two poems that tickled my funny bone:
The Pig

The pig is held in ill repute;
He's thought to be a coarse-grained brute.
A slurper-up of slops, the swine,
He's never asked indoors to dine.
But if the loathsome pig were fed
On marzipan and fine white bread,
And if he were allowed to shower
And dust himself with scented flour,
And spend a week in Cannes or Florence,
Would we still hold him in abhorrence?
Or would we find ourselves recanting,
And cry: "Oh, Pig, thou art enchanting!"

The Opossum

The opossum, as everyone knows,
Is prehensile of tail and toes.
It carries its young in a pocket
And plays dead if you happen to shock it.
The opossum is ugly and vicious.
Fricasseed, it is highly nutritious.

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