Many of us fondly remember Shel Silverstein as the voice of our childhoods. Only as an adult did I realize Silverstein was one wacky guy. It makes sense.
More than a decade after his death of a heart attack at age 68, Shel Silverstein's career avoids any defining label. Millions of children have anointed him to beloved status thanks to poetry books like Where The Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Atticand a visit to the website run in tandem by Shel's estate and his longtime publisher, HarperCollins, might convince you that his work for kids is his primary legacy. Doing so, however, neglects the full spectrum of what made Silverstein tick as an artist.
And so Shel's tone and really unique style stuck with me. And when I found out that he had adult stuff Shel Silverstein is likely best remembered for his work for children, but he was also a well-known songwriter he won a Grammy for writing Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue" and a prolific writer of more adult material.
Shel Silverstein was more than just a quirky, kid-friendly poet with whom we youthfully chuckled while leafing through Where the Sidewalk Ends or A Light in the Attic. No doubt about it, Silverstein was an amazing guy. But he also smoked a metric shit-ton of weed, sang obscenely, engaged in legendary partying often on a houseboatwrote a lot of fairly bent plays for grown-ups and obviously spent a lot of time thinking, writing and drawing about smut.
Shel Silverstein was born on September 25,in Chicago. He died in After his stint in the Army was up, he soon began drawing cartoons for magazines such as Look and Sports Illustratedbut it was his work for Playboy magazine that began garnering Silverstein national recognition.
Being a kid is a lot harder than we give them credit for. Teachers, parents, preachers, books, movies and music are all trying to explain their new adventure in this thing called life to them, and their place in it. Feeling things is exhausting!
Considering his colorful life, it makes sense that there are some dark Shel Silverstein poem meanings, as well as some deeply witty and intentionally creepy Shel Silverstein stories. The man was certainly offbeat, if not extraordinary. Silverstein lived a far-from traditional life.
To be quite honest, some of it is pretty darn shocking," said Steve Zana, who co-founded Valparaiso Theatrical Company with his wife, Colleen, in Chicago born poet, playwright and songwriter Silverstein, who died inwas the author of famous works for young readers, including "The Giving Tree," "A Light in the Attic" and "Where the Sidewalk Ends. Zana appears in "Going Once," featuring an auctioneer and a woman putting herself up to the highest bidder, and "Thinking Up a New Name for the Act," which is focused on the words "meat and potatoes. It's not like they're doing an entire show.
Anything that was available. A few lines of lyrics are scrawled across it: a quick sketch for a song—or maybe a poem—about a bank robbery. It never seemed to stop.
Like most kids, I heard poetry almost from the moment I popped out of the womb — in the lullabies and nursery rhymes my mom sang to me when putting me to bed, in Dr. Seuss books, and on Sesame Street. But when I think back on who really unlocked the power and potential of poetry for me, there's only one answer: Shel Silverstein.