Happy birthday, Mrs. Parker!
Today is a day I like to commemorate every year: Dorothy Parker’s birthday (1893-1967). I first came in contact with Mrs. Parker’s special brand of wit through a book of poetry, Love Poems by Women: An Anthology of Poetry from Around the World and Through the Ages, which is a volume edited by Wendy Mulford. Dorothy had a few poems in the book, including her poem entitled, “One Perfect Rose.” I can’t quote the whole poem here, though it’s short, because of copyright laws, but someone has taken the risk for me. (Don’t bother with the embedded video/audio for that site; it’s computer generated and completely lame.) The wonderful sense of irony in the short little ditty was so compelling, I had to read more and more of her work. After a while, having gone through her poems many times, I got a complete collection of her poems and short stories (mostly for the short stories, as I couldn’t find them anywhere else). Reading all of her fiction made me curious about her other work as a Broadway show critic for Vanity Fair, from 1918-1920 and then as a book reviewer with The New Yorker from 1925-1933. During this time, she published many, many poems and got quite a bit of critical acclaim. Later in her life, she became a screenwriter and was nominated for an Academy Award.
Dorothy’s words live on in her numerous satirical works and acerbic (often scathing) rhyming poems about everything under the sun. I strongly recommend her wonderful writing as a way to expand your horizons. Her topics are timeless. I only wish we had someone as brilliant to look up to now. She is an icon for women writers everywhere.
Thanks for celebrating her birthday with me today!