Web Dreamtime
SiteSearch Google

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Clarence Lee From Tennessee

In response to friend "Dreamtime Fan's" comment on our earlier post, here's Teri Garr reading Shel Silverstein's "Clarence," from Silverstein's seminal book of poetry, A Light in the Attic.

Uncredited in the show, an excerpt of Silverstein himself reading "Clarence" was played in this week's episode #99, "Big Clearance Sale." To paraphrase Otto Penzler, the term "Renaissance man" is usually abused, but if anyone deserved that title, it was probably Shel Silverstein.

Among other works, Silverstein wrote A Boy Named Sue; The Unicorn (a pseudo-Irish ballad, a hit for a pseudo-Irish band, The Irish Rovers, a staple at pseudo-Irish pubs, and a song which I half-expected and feared would show up on one of the "Noah's Ark" episodes); The Cover of The Rolling Stone; Sylvia's Mother; and a cautionary song about V.D., Don't Give a Dose to the One You Love Most.

Much of Silverstein's music edged into Dr. Demento territory, and in fact, he was a favorite on that show, but you can't deny his versatility and talent.  If you're around my age, you have the words of at least one Shel Silverstein song knocking around in your head, like it or not.  And kids love him, even when he's freaking out their parents. As Chris Zammarelli notes over at Bookslut: "A Light in the Attic has frequently been taken to task for such things as encouraging children to 'be disobedient' and to 'break dishes so they won't have to dry them' and for glorifying 'Satan, suicide and cannibalism.'"

Shel Silverstein: notorious perverter of Youth, once said in an interview...

"I would hope that people, no matter what age, would find something to identify with in my books, pick up one and experience a personal sense of discovery. That's great. But for them, not for me. I think that if you're creative person, you should just go about your business, do your work and not care about how it's received. I never read reviews because if you believe the good ones you have to believe the bad ones too. Not that I don't care about success. I do, but only because it lets me do what I want. I was always prepared for success but that means that I have to be prepared for failure too." ~ Shel Silverstein

No comments: