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Ogden Nash Biography | Poet

Photo of Ogden Nash

Frederic Ogden Nash (August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971) was an American poet best known for writing pithy and funny light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, the New York Times said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry".

Ogden Nash was born in Rye, New York. His father owned and operated an import-export company, and because of business obligations, the family relocated often.

After graduating from St. George's School (Middletown, Rhode Island), Nash entered Harvard University in 1920, only to drop out a year later. He returned to St. George's to teach for a year and left to work his way through a series of other jobs, eventually landing a position as an editor at Doubleday publishing house, where he first began to write poetry.

Nash moved to Baltimore, Maryland, three years after marrying Frances Leonard, a Baltimore girl. He lived in Baltimore from 1934 and most of his life until his death in 1971. Nash thought of Baltimore as home. After his return from a brief move to New York, he wrote "I could not love New York had I not loved Balti-more."

His first job in New York was as a writer of the streetcar card ads for a company that previously had employed another Baltimore resident, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Nash loved to rhyme. "I think in terms of rhyme...and have since I was six years old," he professed. He had a fondness for crafting his own words whenever rhyming words did not exist.

In 1931 he published his first collection of poems, Hard Lines, earning him national recognition. Some of his poems reflected an anti-establishment feeling.



  • The Cricket of Carador, by Nash and Joseph Alger (Garden City: Doubleday, Page, 1925).
  • Born in a Beer Garden or, She Troupes to Conquer, by Nash, Christopher Morley, Cleon Throckmorton, and others (New York: Foundry Press/R.C. Rimington, 1930).
  • Hard Lines (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1931); enlarged as Hard Lines, and Others (London: Duckworth, 1932)—adds selections from Free Wheeling.
  • Free Wheeling (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1931).
  • Happy Days (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1933).
  • Four Prominent So and So's, lyrics by Nash, music by Robert Armbruster (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1934).
  • The Primrose Path (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1935).
  • The Bad Parents' Garden of Verse (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1936).
  • I'm a Stranger Here Myself (Boston: Little, Brown, 1938; London: Gollancz, 1938).
  • The Face is Familiar: the Selected Verse of Ogden Nash (Boston: Little, Brown, 1940; London: Dent, 1942; revised edition, London: Dent, 1954).
  • Good Intentions (Boston: Little, Brown, 1942; enlarged edition, London: Dent, 1942; revised edition, London: Dent, 1956).
  • One Touch of Venus, by Nash and S. J. Perelman (Boston: Little, Brown, 1944).
  • Many Long Years Ago (Boston: Little, Brown, 1945; London: Dent, 1945).
  • Ogden Nash's Musical Zoo, music by Vernon Duke (Boston: Little, Brown, 1947).
  • Versus (Boston: Little, Brown, 1949; London: Dent, 1949).
  • Family Reunion (Boston: Little, Brown, 1950; London: Dent, 1951).
  • Parents Keep Out: Elderly Poems for Youngerly Readers (Boston: Little, Brown, 1951; enlarged edition, London: Dent, 1962).
  • The Private Dining Room, and Other New Verses (Boston: Little, Brown, 1953; London: Dent, 1953).
  • The Christmas That Almost Wasn't (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1957; London: Dent, 1958).
  • You Can't Get There from Here (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1957; London: Dent, 1957).
  • Custard the Dragon (Boston: Little, Brown, 1959; London: Dent, 1960).
  • Verse from 1929 On (Boston: Little, Brown, 1959); republished as Collected Verse from 1929 On (London: Dent, 1961).
  • A Boy Is a Boy: The Fun of Being a Boy (New York: Watts, 1960; London: Dent, 1961).
  • Scrooge Rides Again (Berkeley, Cal.: Hart, 1960).
  • Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Knight (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1961).
  • Everyone But Thee and Me (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1962; London: Dent, 1963).
  • Girls Are Silly (New York: Watts, 1962; London: Dent, 1964).
  • The New Nutcracker Suite and Other Innocent Verses (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1962).
  • The Adventures of Isabel (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1963).
  • A Boy and His Room (New York: Watts, 1963).
  • A Boy and His Room and The Adventures of Isabel (London: Dent, 1964).
  • Marriage Lines: Notes of a Student Husband (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1964; London: Dent, 1964).
  • The Untold Adventures of Santa Claus (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1964; London: Dent, 1965).
  • The Animal Garden (New York: Evans, 1965; London: Deutsch, 1972).
  • The Mysterious Ouphe (New York: Spadea Press, 1965).
  • The Cruise of the Aardvark (New York: Evans, 1967; London: Deutsch, 1972).
  • Santa Go Home: A Case History for Parents (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1967; London: Dent, 1968).
  • There's Always Another Windmill (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1968; London: Deutsch, 1969).
  • Bed Riddance: A Posy for the Indisposed (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1970; London: Deutsch, 1971).
  • The Old Dog Barks Backwards (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1972; London: Deutsch, 1973).
  • I Wouldn't Have Missed It: Selected Poems of Ogden Nash, selected by Linnel Smith and Isabel Eberstadt (Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown, 1972).


  • One Touch of Venus, by Nash and S. J. Perelman, music by Kurt Weil, New York, Imperial Theatre, 7 October 1943.


  • The Firefly, MGM, 1937.
  • The Shining Hair, by Nash and Jane Murfin, MGM, 1938.
  • The Feminine Touch, by Nash, George Oppenheimer, and Edmund L. Hartman, MGM, 1941.


  • P. G. Wodehouse, Nothing But Wodehouse, edited by Nash (Garden City: Doubleday, Doran, 1932).

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