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Shel Silverstein biography :

Sheldon Allan Silverstein was born on 25 September 1932 in the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. Although he is known to be a writer of children’s literature, he is also a cartoonist, lyricist, composer and folksinger.

More commonly known as Shel Silverstein, this American poet started writing when he was just a young boy. Instead of playing baseball or watching girls, he spent most of his time writing. Since he was unfamiliar with the writing styles of any of the great poets, he was able to develop his own unique method.

It is quite ironic that Silverstein started his illustrious career in 1952 by writing and drawing cartoons for an adult magazine. He became part of the US military forces and further developed his talent as a cartoonist by contributing regularly to the military newsletter, Pacific Stars and Stripes. Not much was heard of Shel Silverstein from the years that followed until he emerged again in the 70’s. In 1970, he composed music for the films Ned Kelly, Who is Harry Kellerman, and Why Is He Saying Such Terrible Things About Me.

He began writing and drawing for children at the suggestion of Ursula Nordstrom. The Giving Tree, one of his earliest and most successful books was initially rejected by editor William Cole because its content was neither for an adult nor for children. They were, however, able to reach a compromise. The book was published, and the rest shall we say, is history.

Some of Silverstein’s literary works include Falling Up (1996), A Light in the Attic (1981). He wrote songs for Dr Hook, and composed music for the 1990 Meryl Streep film, which was loosely based on Carrie Fisher’s life, Postcards from the Edge.

Shel Silverstein died of a massive heart attack on 10 May 1999 at the age of 66.

 

 
   
 

Poems by Shel Silverstein  :

Bear In There

Anteater

Cloony The Clown

Messy Room

"Melinda Mae"

The Dragon of Grindly Grun

My Beard

The Toucan

Weird-Bird

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Picture Puzzle Piece

Sick

A Boy Named Sue by Shel Silverstein

Anteater by Shel Silverstein

Bear In There by Shel Silverstein

Boa Constrictor by Shel Silverstein

Cloony The Clown by Shel Silverstein

Danny O'Dare by Shel Silverstein

Forgotten Language by Shel Silverstein

God's Wheel by Shel Silverstein

It's Dark in Here by Shel Silverstein

Messy Room by Shel Silverstein

One Inch Tall by Shel Silverstein

Picture Puzzle Piece by Shel Silverstein

Rain by Shel Silverstein

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein

The Meehoo with an Exactlywatt by Shel Silverstein

The Toucan by Shel Silverstein

Weird-Bird by Shel Silverstein

Whatif by Shel Silverstein

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

 

 

 

A Boy Named Sue by Shel Silverstein

Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of booze.
Now I don't blame him because he run and hid,
but the meanest thing that he ever did was
before he left he went and named me Sue.

Well, he must have thought it was quite a joke,
and it got lots of laughs from a lot of folks,
it seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
and some guy would laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue.

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean.
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
Roamed from town to town to hide my shame,
but I made me a vow to the moon and the stars,
I'd search the honky tonks and bars and kill
that man that gave me that awful name.

But it was Gatlinburg in mid July and I had
just hit town and my throat was dry.
I'd thought i'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon in a street of mud
and at a table dealing stud sat the dirty,
mangy dog that named me Sue.

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
from a worn-out picture that my mother had
and I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old
and I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
and I said, 'My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you're gonna die.' Yeah, that's what I told him.

Well, I hit him right between the eyes and he went down
but to my surprise he came up with a knife
and cut off a piece of my ear. But I busted a chair
right across his teeth. And we crashed through
the wall and into the street kicking and a-gouging
in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell you I've fought tougher men but I really can't remember when.
He kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laughin' and then I heard him cussin',
he went for his gun and I pulled mine first.
He stood there looking at me and I saw him smile.

And he said, 'Son, this world is rough and if
a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said 'Goodbye'.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die. And it's
that name that helped to make you strong.'

Yeah, he said, 'Now you have just fought one
helluva fight, and I know you hate me and you've
got the right to kill me now and I wouldn't blame you
if you do. But you ought to thank me
before I die for the gravel in your guts and the spit
in your eye because I'm the nut that named you Sue.'
Yeah, what could I do? What could I do?

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,
called him pa and he called me a son,
and I came away with a different point of view
and I think about him now and then.
Every time I tried, every time I win and if I
ever have a son I think I am gonna name him
Bill or George - anything but Sue.

 

 
 

Books of poetry by Shel Silverstein   :

A Giraffe and a Half

 

Book Description
If you had a giraffe
and he stretched another half …
you would have a giraffe and a half.
And if you glued a rose
to the tip of his nose …

And … if he put on a shoe
and then stepped in some glue …

And if he used a chair
to comb his hair …

And so it goes until … but that would be telling. Children will be kept in stitches until the very end, when the situation is resolved in the most riotous way possible.
Shel Silverstein’s incomparable line drawings add to the hilarity of his wildly funny rhymes.
 

 
 

Great Poetry Books by Shel Silverstein :