HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Collected Verse (Edgar A. Guest)
Author: Edgar A. Guest
Publisher: Contemporary Books, republished 1977
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Suitable for all ages
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Guest, Edgar A. Collected Verse (originally published in 1934 by The Reilly and Lee Co.). Edgar Albert Guest was a prolific English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the twentieth century and became known as the People’s Poet. His poems often had an inspirational and optimistic view of everyday life. Born on August 20, 1881, at Birmingham, England, Guest moved with his family to the United States from England in 1891. After he began at the Detroit Free Press as a copy boy and then a reporter, his first poem appeared on December 11, 1898. He became a naturalized citizen in 1902. For forty years, Guest’s sentimental, optimistic poems were widely read throughout North America.
From his first published work in the Detroit Free Press until his death in 1959, Guest penned some 11,000 poems which were syndicated in some 300 newspapers and collected in more than twenty volumes, including A Heap o’ Livin’ (1916) and Just Folks (1917). Guest was made Poet Laureate of Michigan, the only poet to have been awarded the title. His popularity led to a weekly Detroit radio show which he hosted from 1931 until 1942, followed by a 1951 NBC television series, A Guest in Your Home. He also had a thrice-weekly transcribed radio program that began January 15, 1941, and was sponsored by Land O’Lakes Creameries. When Guest died in Detroit on August 5, 1959, he was buried in Detroit’s Woodlawn Cemetery.
This 945 page book of the collected verse by Edgar Guest was first published in 1934. It was republished in 1977. My good friend and fellow gospel preacher Leslie Diestelkamp, now deceased, often said that Guest was his favorite poet and frequently quoted from Guest’s poems in his sermons. Poetry is not my favorite form of literature, but I must admit that I really like Edgar Guest and have enjoyed reading many of his works through the years.
It don’t make a difference how rich ye get t’ be’
How much yer chairs and tables cost, how great the luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.
Within the hi how are you there’s got t’ be some babies born an’ then…
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring em up t’ women good, an’ men;
Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ living in it.