SHEL SILVERSTEIN Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Shel Silverstein                                                               
Born: 25 September 1930 Chicago, Illinois                                           
Died: 10 May 1999 Key West, Florida                                                 
Sheldon Alan "Shel" Silverstein (September 25, 1930 - May 10, 1999) was an           
American poet, songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and         
author of children's books. He sometimes styled himself as Uncle Shelby             
especially for his early children's books.                                           
Silverstein confirmed he never studied the poetry of others, and therefore           
developed his own style: laid-back and conversational, occasionally employing       
profanity, and slang.                                                               
Shel Silverstein's first book, Grab Your Socks! (1956) collected his early 1950s     
cartoons for Stars and Stripes.                                                     
Silverstein's skill in writing was already largely developed by the time he         
served in the U.S. army. Silverstein was stationed in Japan and Korea in the         
1950s, and while in the military, he was a cartoonist for the Pacific edition of     
the military newspaper, Stars and Stripes.                                           
His name is most commonly known for writing and illustrating his children's         
literature including The Missing Piece, A Light In The Attic, Lafcadio, Where       
the Sidewalk Ends, Falling Up, The Giving Tree, A Giraffe and a Half, and The       
Missing Piece Meets the Big O. For adults he wrote Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book, a       
satirical mock children's book, and created Different Dances, a coffee table         
book of wordless, adult-themed cartoons. He continued to write colloquial poetry     
on occasion throughout his life, including a rap version of Shakespeare's Hamlet     
that was published (on yellow-beige specialty paper) in Playboy magazine in 1998.   
He also co-wrote the screenplay Things Change with David Mamet.                     
In 2005, Silverstein's last book, Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook, was published         
posthumously. As the title suggests, every poem and illustration in the book         
consists of spoonerisms. In an NPR interview, Mitch Myers, Shel Silverstein's       
nephew, who wrote the liner notes for a "Best of Shel Silverstein" CD and helped     
compile the new collection of poems, said, "I think he wasn't sure about how it     
would be received. It is and was very different. And it's not easy, even for         
adults to read. I think, actually, younger children have a better time at it         
because they're not so preconceived in their notions of how words work. And the     
playfulness of it really comes across." Silverstein said "I did not have any         
inspirations, my talent formed, because that was what I loved to do....(and         
forever will)" "Many kids should know their talents from in their heart and soul."