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Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker Biography

Dorothy Parker, who was born on August 22nd, 1893, was a prominent poetess, civil rights advocate, and journalist. She was known for her outstanding novellas, movie scripts, and short stories, but mostly for social and humane claims embroidered into her poems.


Born to the family of a tailor and housewife, Dorothy Parker, first lived in Long Branch, NJ and then moved with to New York where she resided throughout her adolescence. She didn’t have a happy childhood since her mother passed away when the girl was only four years old and the father, who as she claimed, ‘was abusive,’ soon found a new wife, whom Dorothy would refuse to call ‘mom’ but referred to her as ‘maid.’

She studied at Catholic primary school on Manhattan at first and then at girls’ charm school till 1911. By 1913, when her father passed away, she was a skillful socialite who had to work as a pianist to support herself financially. From now on, at the age of 20, the future woman of letters was a complete orphan.

Soon, she had her first attempts to shed some light on her poetic pieces, which were purchased by Vanity Fair, and in some time would start working for Vogue as a co-editor, which brought her closer to bohemian clubs of NYC.

When she was 24 of, Dorothy got engaged with Edwin Parker, but the two were split shortly afterward since Edwin went overseas to fight in WWI.

Early Years

The early 20s were significant for the poetess as her first participation in a literature club, entitled ‘Algonquin Round Table,’ took place. The community consisted of Robert Benchley, Franklin Adams and others who created her close circle of alike-thinking critics, writers and other people of letters. Meetings, which would take place almost every day in the afternoon for approximately 10 years, were centered on the trends and art of the roaring 20s.

Dorothy Parker was loved by colleagues for her humorous and satirical style of writing, which made her articles of a great critical value for New York elites. However, her wit wasn’t always favorable since, in two years after the club was established, Dorothy was fired from Vanity Fair for her strong comments about some influential people, which brought the poetess to working for Ainslee’s Magazine that allowed her to express her opinion fully.

Being fired from Vanity, Parker would still have her short stories published there, but it was a time of great struggles. Everything changed when in 1925 a new paper, The New Yorker, came to be and the vivid poetess and publicist seemed like a great fit for its team of editors.


From 1926 till 1933, Parker wrote and published some of her greatest pieces and poems like a poetry compilation ‘Enough Rope’ (1926) and novellas, ‘The Lady Next Door’ and ‘Big Blonde’ (1929); she worked as freelance journalist and writer as long as a full-time editor and publisher for such magazines as Life, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and others.

Enough Rope’ was a breakthrough of her career. It was published in 1926 and copied and sold out almost 50,000 times. It includes poems with distinct humor that criticizes and brings down social injustices through light of ‘disillusionment.’

Her 1928, Sunset Gun and 1931, Death and Taxes are the pinnacle of Parker’s existential and sentimental talent, which tell a story of broken dreams and inevitability of repeating the same failures again and again without a way out.

Later on, in 1944 all her best pieces from the volumes were picked out and compiled into a great volume of her work called ‘The Portable Dorothy Parker

From 1933 till the late 1940s, Dorothy Parker had a change of heart and moved with her new husband, whom she had married in 1932, Alan Campbell to Hollywood where they would work as screenwriters and actors. All in all, they would earn up to more than $4,000 a week, working on roughly 14 projects at the same time.

After the death of her husband, she came back to New York, where she worked for the radio and didn’t publish anything else.


Dorothy Parker’s heart stopped beating in 1967, on the 7th of June, because of myocardial infarction presumably due to her alcohol addiction she had been struggling with for almost a decade.

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An Analysis of a few poems by Dorothy Parker

She writes ‘Their candle gives a single light’ at first I thought that it meant that they were simple. But then I went on to think that the ideal woman to men isn’t simple but she Just appears that way to men. Her choice to use the word ‘Interview’ for the title made me think…

The Veteran

When I was young and bold and strong,Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!My plume on high, my flag unfurled,I rode away to right the world.“Come out, you dogs, and fight!” said I,And wept there was but once to die. But I am old; and good and badAre woven in a crazy plaid.I sit…

General Review Of The Sex Situation

Woman wants monogamy;Man delights in novelty.Love is woman’s moon and sun;Man has other forms of fun.Woman lives but in her lord;Count to ten, and man is bored.With this the gist and sum of it,What earthly good can come of it?



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Indian Summer

In youth, it was a way I had   To do my best to please,And change, with every passing lad,   To suit his theories. But now I know the things I know,   And do the things I do;And if you do not like me so,   To hell, my love, with you!


When I am old, and comforted,  And done with this desire,With Memory to share my bed  And Peace to share my fire, I’ll comb my hair in scalloped bands;;Beneath my laundered cap,And watch my cool and fragile hands;;Lie light upon my lap. And I will have a sprigged gown;;With lace to kiss my throat;I’ll draw my curtain…


My land is bare of chattering folk;  The clouds are low along the ridges,And sweet’s the air with curly smoke;;From all my burning bridges.


Authors and actors and artists and suchNever know nothing, and never know much.Sculptors and singers and those of their kidneyTell their affairs from Seattle to Sydney.Playwrights and poets and such horses’ necksStart off from anywhere, end up at sex.Diarists, critics, and similar roeNever say nothing, and never say no.People Who Do Things exceed my endurance;God,…


In the pathway of the sun,  In the footsteps of the breeze,Where the world and sky are one,  He shall ride the silver seas,    He shall cut the glittering wave.I shall sit at home, and rock;Rise, to heed a neighbor’s knock;Brew my tea, and snip my thread;Bleach the linen for my bed.;;;;They will call him brave.

For A Favorite Granddaughter

Never love a simple lad,  Guard against a wise,Shun a timid youth and sad,  Hide from haunted eyes. Never hold your heart in pain  For an evil-doer;Never flip it down the lane  To a gifted wooer. Never love a loving son,  Nor a sheep astray;Gather up your skirts and run  From a tender way. Never give away a tear,   Never toss…


There was a rose that faded young;I saw its shattered beauty hung  Upon a broken stem.I heard them say, “What need to careWith roses budding everywhere?”  I did not answer them. There was a bird, brought down to die;They said, “A hundred fill the sky–  What reason to be sad?”There was a girl, whose lover fled;I did not…


The day that I was christened–  It’s a hundred years, and more!–A hag came and listened  At the white church door,A-hearing her that bore me  And all my kith and kinConsiderately, for me,  Renouncing sin.While some gave me corals,  And some gave me gold,And porringers, with morals  Agreeably scrolled,The hag stood, buckled  In a dim gray cloak;Stood there and chuckled,  Spat, and spoke:“There’s…


Razors pain you;Rivers are damp;Acids stain you;And drugs cause cramp.Guns aren’t lawful;Nooses give;Gas smells awful;You might as well live.

News Item

Men seldom make passesAt girls who wear glasses.

On Cheating The Fiddler

“Then we will have tonight!” we said.  “Tomorrow–may we not be dead?”The morrow touched our eyes, and found  Us walking firm above the ground,Our pulses quick, our blood alight.  Tomorrow’s gone–we’ll have tonight!

Ornithology For Beginners

The bird that feeds from off my palmIs sleek, affectionate, and calm,But double, to me, is worth the thrushA-flickering in the elder-bush.


So silent I when Love was byHe yawned, and turned away;But Sorrow clings to my apron-strings,I have so much to say.

On Being A Woman

Why is it, when I am in Rome,I’d give an eye to be at home,But when on native earth I be,My soul is sick for Italy? And why with you, my love, my lord,Am I spectacularly bored,Yet do you up and leave me–thenI scream to have you back again?


I shall tread, another year,  Ways I walked with Grief,Past the dry, ungarnered ear  And the brittle leaf. I shall stand, a year apart,  Wondering, and shy,Thinking, “Here she broke her heart; Here she pled to die.” I shall hear the pheasants call,  And the raucous geese;Down these ways, another Fall,  I shall walk with Peace. But the pretty path…

A Very Short Song

Once, when I was young and true,  Someone left me sad–Broke my brittle heart in two;  And that is very bad. Love is for unlucky folk,  Love is but a curse.Once there was a heart I broke;  And that, I think, is worse.


Her mind lives in a quiet room,  A narrow room, and tall,With pretty lamps to quench the gloom  And mottoes on the wall. There all the things are waxen neat  And set in decorous lines;And there are posies, round and sweet,  And little, straightened vines. Her mind lives tidily, apart  From cold and noise and pain,And bolts the door against…

A Certain Lady

Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,And drink your rushing words with eager lips,And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.When you rehearse your list of loves to me,Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.And you laugh back, nor can you ever seeThe thousand little…

Fighting Words

Say my love is easy had,  Say I’m bitten raw with pride,Say I am too often sad–  Still behold me at your side. Say I’m neither brave nor young,  Say I woo and coddle care,Say the devil touched my tongue–  Still you have my heart to wear. But say my verses do not scan,  And I get me another man!

Unfortunate Coincidence

By the time you swear you’re his,;;Shivering and sighing,And he vows his passion is;;Infinite, undying –Lady, make a note of this:;;One of you is lying.


The stars are soft as flowers, and as near;  The hills are webs of shadow, slowly spun;No separate leaf or single blade is here–  All blend to one. No moonbeam cuts the air; a sapphire light  Rolls lazily. and slips again to rest.There is no edged thing in all this night,  Save in my breast.


If I had a shiny gun,I could have a world of funSpeeding bullets through the brainsOf the folk who give me pains; Or had I some poison gas,I could make the moments passBumping off a number ofPeople whom I do not love. But I have no lethal weapon-Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!So they…

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