Poems about Fathers

Happy Father’s Day!  Today we’re offering a selection of poetry by, for, and about fathers.  John MacKay Shaw, a father of two, was a businessman and bibliophile with a particular interest in the literature of childhood.  He wrote this volume of poetry, entitled The Things I Want, at the request of his young children, Cathmar and Bruce, in the 1930s. Shaw’s library is now housed at the Florida State University Libraries.

"The Things I Want" by John MacKay Shaw "Teasin' Daddy" by John MacKay Shaw

Wyatt Prunty is a professor of creative writing at the University of the South, and his poem “To My Father” deals with a son watching his father struggle with disease.  This copy of the poem was produced as a broadside by the Palaemon Press.  The edition was limited to 126 copies; the Libraries’ copy is number 99 and was signed by Prunty.

"To My Father" by Wyatt Prunty

Finally, from the library of John Gneisenau Neihardt comes Father: An Anthology of Verse, published in 1931.  The anthology contains poetry both humorous and sentimental on the subject of fathers, fatherhood, children and families.  Neihardt received this book as a review copy, and the book still has its original review slip.

Father: An Anthology of Verse "An Unusual Chum" by James W. Foley Original review slip from John Neihardt's copy

Kelli Hansen is Print Collections Librarian in Special Collections and Rare Books, where she focuses on outreach, instruction, and reference.

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