Sunset Gun

Light Verse

About the Book

Now available as a stand-alone edition, the famous humorist’s second collection of poetry ranges from lighthearted self-deprecation to gleefully acid-tongued satire and dark comedy.

One of the Jazz Age’s most beloved poets, Dorothy Parker earned her reputation as the wittiest woman in America with her popular light verse, which was regularly published in Vanity Fair, Life, and The New Yorker. Her debut poetry collection, Enough Rope, was a runaway bestseller, and she followed it up in 1928 with the equally delightful collection Sunset Gun. The poems gathered here range from barbed satires to light-hearted laments, all laced with Parker’s unmistakable sense of humor, one that manages to be both cynical and sparkling.

Thought for a Sunshiny Morning
It costs me never a stab nor squirm
To tread by chance upon a worm.
“Aha, my little dear,” I say,
“Your clan will pay me back some day.”
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Excerpt

Sunset Gun

Godmother

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 kin
Considerately, 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 few enough in life’ll
Be needing my help,
But I’ve got a trifle
For your fine young whelp.
I give her sadness,
And the gift of pain,
The new-moon madness,
And the love of rain.”
And little good to lave me
In their holy silver bowl
After what she gave me—
Rest her soul!


Partial Comfort

Whose love is given over-well
Shall look on Helen’s face in hell,
Whilst they whose love is thin and wise
May view John Knox in paradise.


The Red Dress

I always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I’d have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,

To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there’d be one to see me so,
And flip the world away.

And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.

I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood. . . .
I have the silly gown.

Vintage Classics Series

Lady Chatterley's Lover
The Best of Lupin
Orlando
Sunset Gun
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
God's Trombones
The Awakening and Selected Stories
Boris Godunov, Little Tragedies, and Others
Men Without Women
The Sun Also Rises
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About the Author

Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker was born in West End, New Jersey, in 1893 and grew up in New York, attending a Catholic convent school and Miss Dana's School in Morristown, New Jersey. In 1916 she sold some of her poetry to the editor of Vogue and was subsequently given an editorial position at the magazine, writing captions for fashion photographs and drawings. Parker then became a drama critic at Vanity Fair and the central figure of the celebrated Algonquin Round Table. Famous for her spoken wit, she showed the same trenchant commentary in her book reviews for The New Yorker and Esquire and in her poems and sketches. Her collections of poems include Not So Deep as a Well and Enough Rope, which became a bestseller, and her collections of stories include Here Lies. Parker also collaborated with Elmer Rice on a play, Close Harmony, and with Arnaud d'Usseau on the play The Ladies of the Corridor. She had two Broadway productions written about her and was portrayed as a character in a third. Her cynicism and the concentration of her judgements were famous, and she has been closely associated with modern urbane humor. Her first husband was Edwin Pond Parker II, and although they were divorced some years later, she continued to use his name, which she much preferred to her own of Rothschild. Parker's second husband was actor-writer Alan Campbell. They went to Hollywood as a writing team and had a tempestuous marriage until his death in 1963, when she returned to New York. Parker died in 1967. More by Dorothy Parker
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