Dorothy Parker and her acidic wit are infamous. I fell in love with her writing after reading one of her cynical poems and just cracking up. After that I asked for a book of her collected stories for Christmas one year and my Dad said, “Of course you would like her work.” I think he recognized a bit of the sarcastic nature.
The Portable Dorothy Parker is a 600 page tome filled with her short stories, poetry, articles, letters and more. If she wrote it, it’s probably in there. She had a sharp tongue, but also a brilliant talent for writing. Her short stories were usually tinged with tragedy, giving a weight to her words. One of my favorites is “The Game.”
The poem below is a great example of her cutting sense of humor; short and to the point.
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?
Parker’s personal life was tragic, filled with unhappy marriages and alcohol. She was part of the famous Algonquin Round Table in NYC and never toed the line of what was normal or expected. Though I don’t envy her life, I do love her work. Her quips never fail to make me laugh and her stories always make me think. She was an amazing author.
“The writer's way is rough and lonely, and who would choose it while there are vacancies in more gracious professions, such as, say, cleaning out ferryboats?”
Photo by moi.