Shel Silverstein

October 26, 2011

Shel Silverstein is an icon of the written word – poetic, lyrical or prosaic. Collections of his poetry, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Falling Up and A Light in The Attic, are nostalgic favourites of several generations now. Award nominations came his way for writing chart-topping songs like A Boy Named Sue and The Unicorn (bet you know the words yourself to those classics!) as well as many other more serious ones performed by musicians like Johnny Cash,  Loretta Lynn, Marianne Faithfull, and Peter, Paul & Mary. While the words captivate and amuse in his written collections, the charming illustrations are just as entertaining. Silverstein began his creative life as a cartoonist and only well into that career began to add writing for children.

Leaving behind an astounding legacy of words, written, sung, and performed in theatres, Shel Silverstein died in 1999. In 2005,  Runny Babbit: a Billy Sook, was released – apparently Silverstein had been creating this collection of spoonerisms for over 20 years. Another posthumous release, and only very recently, is Everything On It – again combining over 100 poems with delightful drawings. Prophetically perhaps, one of the poems in this collection reads:

“Although I cannot see your face 
As you flip these poems awhile, 
Somewhere from some far-off place 
I hear you laughing–and I smile.”

A reviewer of this latest production wrote: “It should come as little surprise that I thought Every Thing On It was really great, setting my brain’s wonder-and-glee-meter off the charts many times.” 

And so if you’re not familiar with the legend of Shel Silverstein then I hope you’ll make yourself so by reading one of his beloved books, listed below. (Unintentional poetry!) If you only know him by his poetry then be tempted to listen to compilations of his music and be entertained. If you are a devotee already then share your favourite poem with us in the comments. I’ve always been partial to this one:



2 Responses to “Shel Silverstein”

  1. Oh, the genius of Shel Silverstein! Beautiful post.

  2. This unique article, “Shel Silverstein | Bedside Table Books” was amazing.

    I’m producing out a duplicate to demonstrate to my pals. Thanks,Tod

Leave a Reply