Theodore Geisel: The Unknown Poet (Dr. Seuss)

2163 words - 9 pages

The name Theodore Geisel, though one of the most famous contemporary writers, is rarely recognized even though his work is well known throughout the world. He has won three Academy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for his work but people only recognize him by his pseudonym, Dr. Seuss.Some people may say that his work is not poetry, but poetry is defined as "writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm." (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary). Theodore Geisel is in-fact a poet and he had an interesting way of getting there.Theodore Geisel has not always been the beloved poet of the children that he is now. He made his first appearance in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 2, 1904 when he was born to Robert Geisel and Henrietta Seuss Geisel. As a child, Theodore Geisel enjoyed drawing and he kept that love throughout his life. At Dartmouth College, he drew cartoons and wrote humorous articles for the campus magazine, Jack-O-Lantern. He later went to Oxford College to get his doctorate in English literature only because he had told his father that he was going on a Campbell Fellowship. Although he had applied, he had not received the fellowship, but his father got excited and told the newspaper that Theodore Geisel had received the fellowship. When he didn't receive the award, his father decided that since the entire community thought that Theodore Geisel was going to Oxford on a Campbell Fellowship, he must go to save face. (Robinson Feb. 16, 2002)Besides majoring in English, he also studied the psychology of advertising and in his zoology and botany classes, he would entertain himself by rearranging the Latin names of plants and animals, which greatly affected his later works. (Fenkl Feb. 13, 2002) While he was at Oxford, he found the lectures to be boring and monotonous and his notebook began to fill up with doodles of his famous characters. Soon after starting school at Oxford, he felt that he couldn't tolerate any more boring lectures, and he took the advice of a close friend, Helen Palmer, to follow his heart.Theodore Geisel traveled around Europe for two years, while still keeping in touch with Helen Palmer. He later returned to her and they were married in 1927. (Robinson Feb. 16, 2002) The newly married couple returned to the United States and Theodore Geisel found work with the magazine Judge. He drew cartoons and wrote humorous articles for the magazine, much like what he did for the Jack-O-Lantern. While he was on vacation in 1936, he wrote the book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, which was inspired by the rhythm of the ship's diesel engine. Twenty-eight publishers rejected the book before it was taken by Random House, gaining mild success. He also did some side cartoons for Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty and many of the cartoons contained references to an insecticide called Flit. This...

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