20 May 2010

Funny Poet: Guy Wetmore Carryl

*** Read a funny irreverent poet from a century ago who enjoyed mocking fairy tales and dropping puns like cops drop donut holes: all over the place! He's still published and a great read.

Surreal fairy tale by jaci XIII @ flickr

From Denny: There is something fun about a writer who is both serious and funny, with a cheeky side to them. An American humorist and poet from New York City was Guy Wetmore Carryl (March 4, 1873 – April 1, 1904).

I ran across some of his poems while on the web this week, and, even though what he wrote was over a century ago, his style and his words reached across the void of Time and made me grin.

His bio is quite something as he started life off with a shout. At twenty years old he was published in The New York Times. He was graduated from Columbia University in 1895 at age 22. Only one year later he was writing for Munsey's Magazine and quickly promoted to managing editor. His next writing gig was Harper's Magazine where he shot off to live in Paris. While writing for Harper's in Paris he also wrote for notable publications like Life and Collier's. What a charmed life!

The man wrote humorous poems that were riffs off of Aesop's Fables, Mother Goose nursery rhymes and Grimm's Fairy Tales. Remember, during this time, ol' Freund was just getting geared up with the psychoanalysis genre. Until then, all society had were morality tales, myths and fantasy stories to explore the human psyche.

Carryl's writing technique was to end his humorous poems with a pun on the words used for the moral of the story. His cheeky attitude extended to his now famous epigram "It takes two bodies to make one seduction." While we all laugh at it today, his teacher, Harry Thurston Peck, was thoroughly scandalized by this "forward" remark. Don't you just love the dying embers of the Gilded Age of literature? Carryl loved to challenge the status quo and he made scandalous remarks his trademark. He was known for his outrageously ingenious rhymes and uproariously funny puns in his work. Who cares if it's great literature when you are having fun?

Carryl was a fun guy full of life. He was known for his very good looks yet good manners, his literary wit and passionate enjoyment of life well lived. Sadly, he died young at age 31, from complications of fighting his house fire a month earlier.

Read five of his funny poems playing with fairy tales:

Funny Poem Fairy Tale: How Rudeness and Kindness Were Justly Rewarded

Funny Poem Fairy Tale: How Beauty Contrived to Get Square With the Beast

Funny Poem Fairy Tale: How Little Red Riding Hood Came to Be Eaten

Funny Poem Fairy Tale: The Singular Sangfroid of Baby Bunting

Funny Poem Fairy Tale: The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet

His works are still published and available at Amazon book store and I placed a few of his funny selections here:

Funny Poetry and Fairy Tales section of The Social Poets Amazon book store

By Guy Wetmore Carryl:

Fables for the Frivolous

Mother Goose For Grownups

Grimm Tales Made Gay (as in humorous)

Fables For The Frivolous: With Apologies To La Fontaine (1898)

His poems on the web as they are Public Domain

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