Arthur Guiterman

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Arthur Guiterman

Arthur Guiterman (/ˈɡɪtərmən/; November 20, 1871 - January 11, 1943) was an American writer best known for his humorous poems.

Life and career[edit]

Guiterman was born of American parents in Vienna, graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1891, and was married in 1909 to Vida Lindo.[1] He was an editor of the Woman's Home Companion and the Literary Digest. In 1910, he cofounded the Poetry Society of America, and later served as its president in 1925-26.[2]

An example of his humour is a poem that talks about modern progress, with rhyming couplets such as "First dentistry was painless;/Then bicycles were chainless". It ends on a more telling note:

Now motor roads are dustless,

The latest steel is rustless,
Our tennis courts are sodless,
Our new religions, godless.

Another Guiterman poem, "On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness", illustrates the philosophy also incorporated into his humorous rhymes:[3]

The tusks which clashed in mighty brawls

Of mastodons, are billiard balls.
The sword of Charlemagne the Just
Is Ferric Oxide, known as rust.
The grizzly bear, whose potent hug,
Was feared by all, is now a rug.
Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,
And I don't feel so well myself.

Perhaps his most-quoted poem is his clever 1936 "DARling" satire about the Daughters of the American Revolution (and three other clubs open only to descendants of pre-Independence British Americans). That poem has a unique, intricate, strongly dramatic rhythmical structure...as analyzed, line by line and syllable by syllable, below. The number of syllables in each line is shown in [brackets]. Strong accents are indicated by !. No accent, or a weak accent, is indicated by ^.

The D.A.R.lings [5] ^ ! ! ! ^

chatter like starlings [5] !!^ !^

telling their [3] ^^^

ancestors' [3] ^^^

names, [1] !

while grimly aloof, [5] ^ ! ^ ^ !

with looks of reproof, [5] ^ ! ^ ^ !

sit the Co- [3] ^^^

lonial [3] ^^^

Dames. [1] !

The Cincinnati, [5] ^! ^ !!

merry and chatty, [5] !^^ !^

dangle their [3] !^^

badges and [3] !^^

pendants; [2] ! ^

but haughty and proud, [5] ^ !^^ !

disdaining the crowd, [5] ^ !^^ !

brood the [2] ^^

Mayflower [3] ! ! !

descendants. [3] ^ ! ^

He also notably wrote the libretto for Walter Damrosch's The Man Without a Country which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on May 12, 1937.[4]

Bibliography[edit]

Incomplete - to be updated

Books[edit]

Beginning in 1907 and continuing for the rest of his life, he was the author of over a dozen collections of poems, including:

  • Betel Nuts, What They Say In Hindustan (1907)
  • The Laughing Muse (1915)
  • The Light Guitar (1923)
  • Wildwood Fables (1927)
  • Song and Laughter (1929)
  • Death and General Putnam and 101 other poems (1935)
  • Gaily the Troubadour (1936)
  • Lyric Laughter (1939)
  • Brave Laughter (1943)

Poems[edit]

  • "Lyrics from the Pekinese (I-III)". The New Yorker 1 (1): 21. 21 February 1925. 
  • "Lyrics from the Pekinese (IV-VI)". The New Yorker 1 (2): 18. 28 February 1925. 
  • "Lyrics from the Pekinese (VII-IX)". The New Yorker 1 (3): 21. 7 March 1925. 
  • "Lyrics from the Pekinese (X-XII)". The New Yorker 1 (4): 20. 14 March 1925. 
  • "Lyrics from the Pekinese (XIII-XV)". The New Yorker 1 (5): 17. 21 March 1925. 
  • "Lyrics from the Pekinese (XVI-XVIII)". The New Yorker 1 (6): 18. 28 March 1925. 
  • "Rendevous". The New Yorker 1 (6): 8. 28 March 1925. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rittenhouse, Jessie. "Biographical Notes. Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948). The Second Book of Modern Verse. 1922.". Archived from the original on 20 April 2005. Retrieved 2005-05-27. 
  2. ^ "RPO-Selected poetry of Arthur Guiterman (1871-1973)". University of Toronto library. Retrieved 2006-05-27. 
  3. ^ http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/24.html On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness
  4. ^ Music: Man Without a Country, Time, May 24, 1937

External links[edit]