Welcome to the third in my Get Caught Reading Month posts…this week a woman with an acerbic wit and who could write the most beautiful poetry. Whilst appearing to be this witty and sophisticated woman of her times, there is an element of poignancy and vulnerability present in her work, that makes it all the more appealing.
If I was able to invite guests who are no longer with us to a dinner party, Dorothy Parker would definitely be one of them.
I was given a copy of The Penquin Dorothy Parker nearly 40 years ago as a parting gift from a very good friend. I still have it on the shelves next to my desk and will often reach out and browse for half an hour or so to get my writing mojo back.
The book contains stories and poems published in 1944… in the blurb it says ” Beneath her carapace of electrifying wit which reflected so brilliantly the age she lived in, was a woman for whom happiness was, at best, precarious”.
There are some wonderful quotes
“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
“I don’t know much about being a millionaire, but I’ll bet I’d be darling at it.”
“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.”
“A hangover is the wrath of grapes.”
Although her essays and short stories are a joy to read, It is her poetry that I have enjoyed the most. Including these two.
The Little Old Lady In Lavender Silk
I was seventy-seven, come August,
I shall shortly be losing my bloom;
I’ve experienced zephyr and raw gust
And (symbolical) flood and simoom.
When you come to this time of abatement,
To this passing from Summer to Fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
As to what you got out of it all.
So I’ll say, though reflection unnerves me
And pronouncements I dodge as I can,
That I think (if my memory serves me)
There was nothing more fun than a man!
In my youth, when the crescent was too wan
To embarrass with beams from above,
By the aid of some local Don Juan
I fell into the habit of love.
And I learned how to kiss and be merry- an
Education left better unsung.
My neglect of the waters Pierian
Was a scandal, when Grandma was young.
Though the shabby unbalanced the splendid,
And the bitter outmeasured the sweet,
I should certainly do as I then did,
Were I given the chance to repeat.
For contrition is hollow and wraithful,
And regret is no part of my plan,
And I think (if my memory’s faithful)
There was nothing more fun than a man!
and another that is one of my favourites
War Song – 1944
Soldier, in a curious land,
All across a swaying sea,
Take her smile and lift her hand –
Have no guilt of me.
Soldier, when were soldiers true?
If she’s kind and sweet and gay,
Use the wish I send to you –
Lie not lone till day!
Only, for the nights that were,
Soldier, and the dawns that came,
When in sleep you turn to her
Call her by my name.
You can buy this book in paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Dorothy-Parker/dp/0140044515
Some other books by Dorothy Parker most of which are second hand.
You can buy them here: https://www.amazon.com/Dorothy-Parker/e/B000APXYO4
Find out more about her books and quotes: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/24956.Dorothy_Parker
Dorothy Parker (née Rothschild; August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, writer, critic, and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles.
From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in publications such as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics led to a place on the Hollywood blacklist.
Discover more about her life story: Dorothy Parker – Wikipedia
I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the writers who have inspired me and would love to hear who your literary heroes are. Thanks Sally