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Alfred Joyce Kilmer

Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, as a member of the 165th Infantry Regiment, circa 1918.
Born December 6, 1886(1886-12-06)
New Brunswick, New Jersey (USA)
Died July 30, 1918 (aged 31)
near Seringes-et-Nesles, France
Occupation poet, journalist, editor, lecturer, soldier
Nationality American
Writing period 1909–1918
Genres poetry, literary criticism, Catholicism
Notable work(s) Main Street and Other Poems (1913), Trees and other poems (1914)
Notable award(s) French Croix de guerre
Purple Heart Medal
Signature File:Joycekilmersignature.jpg

Alfred Joyce Kilmer (December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918) was an American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer, and editor. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer is remembered most for a short poem entitled Trees (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. While most of his works are unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics, both Kilmer's contemporaries and modern scholars, disparaged Kilmer's work as being too simple, overly sentimental, and suggested that his style was far too traditional, even archaic.

At the time of his deployment to Europe during the first World War (1914–1918), Kilmer was considered the leading American Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953).[1][2][3] A sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, Kilmer was killed at the Second Battle of Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.

BiographyEdit

Early years: 1886–1908Edit

Kilmer was born December 6, 1886 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the fourth and youngest child[a] of Annie Ellen Kilburn (1849–1932)[4] and Dr. Frederick Barnett Kilmer (1851–1934), a physician and analytical chemist employed by the Johnson and Johnson Company and inventor of the company's baby powder.[5][6][7] Joyce was named Alfred Joyce Kilmer after Alfred R. Taylor, the curate; and the Rev. Dr. Elisha Brooks Joyce (1857–1926), the rector of Christ Church, the oldest Episcopal parish in New Brunswick, where the Kilmer family were parishioners.[8][9] Rector Joyce, who served the parish from 1883 to 1916, baptised the young Kilmer.[10] Kilmer's birthplace in New Brunswick, where the Kilmer family lived from 1886 to 1892, is still standing, and houses a small museum to Kilmer, as well as a few Middlesex County government offices.[11]

Kilmer entered the Rutgers College Grammar School (now Rutgers Preparatory School) in 1895 at the age of 8. During his years at the Grammar School, he....

"...won the Lane prize in public speaking and was editor-in-chief of the Argo, the school paper. He loved the classics, although he had considerable difficulty with Greek. In his last year at Rutgers, he won the first Lane Classical Prize, a free scholarship for the academic course at Rutgers College, and one hundred dollars in money. Despite his difficulties with mathematics and Greek, he stood at the head of his class in preparatory school."[12]

After graduating from the Rutgers College Grammar School in 1904, he continued his education at Rutgers College from 1904 to 1906. At Rutgers, Kilmer was associate editor of the Targum, the campus newspaper and a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. Unable to complete the rigorous mathematics requirement in the curriculum at Rutgers, facing a repeat of his sophomore year and under pressure from his mother, Kilmer transferred to Columbia College of Columbia University in New York City.[13]

At Columbia, Kilmer was vice-president of the Philolexian Society, associate editor of Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper, and was a member of the Debating Union. He completed his Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree and was graduated from Columbia on May 23, 1908.[14] Shortly after graduation, on June 9, 1908, he married Aline Murray (1888–1941), a fellow poet to whom he had been engaged since his sophomore year at Rutgers.[14][15] The Kilmers had five children: Kenton Sinclair Kilmer (1909–1995), Michael Barry Kilmer (1916–1927), Deborah ("Sister Michael") Clanton Kilmer (1914–1999) who was a Catholic nun at the Saint Benedict’s Monastery, Rose Kilburn Kilmer (1912–1917), and Christopher Kilmer (1917–1984).[6][16]

Years of writing and faith: 1909–1917Edit

Shortly after his marriage and graduation from Columbia, Kilmer sought teaching positions. In the autumn of 1908, he obtained a position teaching Latin at Morristown High School in Morristown, New Jersey, and finding that teaching did not demand much of his time, he found considerable time to dedicate to writing. At this time, he submitted essays to Red Cross Notes (including his first published piece, an essay on the "Psychology of Advertising") and poems to Moods, Smart Set, The Sun, The Pathfinder and The Bang. In addition to all this, he wrote book reviews for The Literary Digest, Town & Country, The Nation, and The New York Times. By June 1909, Kilmer had abandoned any aspirations to continue teaching and relocated to New York City, the literary and publishing mecca of the United States, deciding to focus solely on a career as a writer.[17]

From 1909–1912, Kilmer was employed by Funk and Wagnalls, which was preparing an edition of The Standard Dictionary. According to Hillis,

"[Kilmer's] job was to define ordinary words assigned to him at five cents for each word defined. This was a job at which one would ordinarily earn ten to twelve dollars a week, but Kilmer attacked the task with such vigor and speed that it was soon thought wisest to put him on a regular salary."[18]

Shortly after the publication of The Standard Dictionary in 1912, Kilmer became a special writer for the New York Times Review of Books and the New York Times Sunday Magazine and was often engaged in lecturing. Kilmer and his family then moved to Mahwah, New Jersey, where he resided until his service and death in World War I. Kilmer at this time was established as a published poet, and as a popular lecturer. According to Robert Holliday, Kilmer "frequently neglected to make any preparation for his speeches, not even choosing a subject until the beginning of the dinner which was to culminate in a specimen of his oratory. His constant research for the dictionary, and, later on, for his New York Times articles, must have given him a store of knowledge at his fingertips to be produced at a moment's notice for these emergencies."[19]

File:Underwood & Underwood.jpg
Joyce Kilmer circa 1910–1915

In 1911, Kilmer's first book of verse, entitled Summer of Love was published. Kilmer would later write that "...some of the poems in it, those inspired by genuine love, are not things of which to be ashamed, and you, understanding, would not be offended by the others."[20]

The Kilmers' daughter Rose (1912–1917) was stricken with Poliomyelitis (also known as infantile paralysis) shortly after birth. The Kilmers turned to their religious faith, and in correspondence between Joyce Kilmer and Father James J. Daly, Joyce and Aline began a conversion to Catholicism into which they were received in 1913. In one of these letters, Kilmer writes:

"Of course you understand my conversion. I am beginning to understand it. I believed in the Catholic position, the Catholic view of ethics and aesthetics, for a long time. But I wanted something not intellectual, some conviction not mental - in fact I wanted Faith.
"Just off Broadway, on the way from the Hudson Tube Station to the Times Building, there is a Church, called the Church of the Holy Innocents. Since it is in the heart of the Tenderloin, this name is strangely appropriate - for there surely is need of youth and innocence. Well, every morning for months I stopped on my way to the office and prayed in this Church for faith. When faith did come, it came, I think, by way of my little paralyzed daughter. Her lifeless hands led me; I think her tiny feet know beautiful paths. You understand this and it gives me a selfish pleasure to write it down."[21][22]

The year 1913 approached Kilmer in trials of suffering and faith but also in success. With the publication of "Trees" in the magazine Poetry, Kilmer gained immense popularity as a poet across the United States. At this time his popularity and success as a lecturer, particularly one seeking to reach a Catholic audience, led Robert Holliday to write: "It is not an unsupported assertion to say that he was in his time and place the laureate of the Catholic Church."[19] Trees and Other Poems (1914) was published the following year. The next few years saw an immense output of work, with Kilmer continuing his lecturing, his literary criticism and essays, writing poetry, and finding the time in 1915 to become poetry editor of Current Literature and contributing editor of Warner's Library of the World's Best Literature. After the publication of The Circus and Other Essays in 1916, the following year would see the publication of three books, Literature in the Making, Main Street and Other Poems, and Dreams and Images: An Anthology of Catholic Poets.

War years: 1917–1918Edit

Within a few days after the United States declared war on Germany and entered the first World War in April 1917, Kilmer enlisted in the Seventh Regiment of the New York National Guard. In August, Kilmer was initially assigned as a statistician with the U.S. 69th Infantry Regiment (better known as the "Fighting 69th" and later redesignated the 165th Infantry Regiment), of the 42nd "Rainbow" Division, and quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant. Though he was eligible for commission as an officer and often recommended for such posts during the course of the war, Kilmer refused stating that he would rather be a sergeant in the Fighting 69th than an officer in any other regiment.[23]

In September, before Kilmer was deployed, the Kilmer family was met with both the contrary emotions of tragedy and rejoicing. The Kilmer's daughter Rose had died, and twelve days later, their son Christopher was born.[24] Kilmer sailed to Europe with his regiment on October 31, 1917, arriving in France two weeks later. Before his departure, Kilmer had contracted with publishers to write a book about the war, deciding upon the title Here and There with the Fighting Sixty-Ninth. Kilmer wrote home, stating "I have not written anything in prose or verse since I got here - except statistics - but I've stored up a lot of memories to turn into copy when I get a chance."[25] Unfortunately, Kilmer never was to write such a book. During his time in Europe, Kilmer did write prose sketches and poetry, most notably the poem "Rouge Bouquet", which was written after the First Battalion of the 42nd Division, which had been occupying the Rouge Bouquet forest northeast of the French village of Baccarat, which at the time was a quiet sector of the front—was struck by a heavy artillery bombardment on the afternoon of March 12, 1918 that buried 21 men of the unit, of which 14 remained entombed.[26][27][28]

Kilmer sought more hazardous duty and was transferred to the Regimental Intelligence Section, in April 1918. He wrote to his wife, Aline that, "Now I'm doing work I love - and work you may be proud of. None of the drudgery of soldiering, but a double share of glory and thrills."[29] According to Hillis:

"Kilmer's companions wrote: "He was worshipped by the men about him. I have heard them speak with awe of his coolness and his nerve in scouting patrols in No Man's Land.” This coolness and his habit of choosing, with typical enthusiasm, the most dangerous and difficult missions, led to his death."[29]

During the Second Battle of Marne, there was heavy fighting throughout the last days of July 1918, and on July 30, 1918, Kilmer volunteered to accompany Major William "Wild Bill" Donovan when Donovan's First Battalion was sent to lead the day's attack.

Death and burialEdit

During the course of the day, Kilmer led a scouting party to find the position of a German machine gun. When his comrades found him, some time later, they thought at first that he was peering over the edge of a little hill, where he had crawled for a better view. When he did not answer their call, they ran to him and found him dead. According to Father Duffy: “A bullet had pierced his brain. His body was carried in and buried by the side of Ames. God rest his dear and gallant soul.”[30] Kilmer died, likely immediately, from a sniper's bullet to the head near Muercy Farm, beside the Oureq River near the village of Seringes, in France, on July 30, 1918 at the age of 31.[31] For his valor, Kilmer was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) by the French Republic.[32]

Kilmer was buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial, near Fere-en-Tardenois, Aisne, Picardy, France. Although Kilmer is buried in France in an American military cemetery, a cenotaph is located on the Kilmer family plot in Elmwood Cemetery, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A memorial service was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan.[33]

"Trees"Edit

Though a prolific poet, Joyce Kilmer is chiefly known for his poem, "Trees", published in the 1914 collection, Trees and Other Poems (see 1914 in poetry), after it first appeared in Poetry magazine in August 1913. Kilmer wrote "Trees" on February 2, 1913, at his home in Mahwah, New Jersey.[34] The poem was dedicated to Mrs. Henry Mills Alden[35] (Ada Foster Murray Alden), his wife's mother and a poet in her own right.[36] Other sources, which state it was written in Chicago, are unsubstantiated. "Trees" has been given several musical settings that were quite popular in the 1940s and 1950s, the most popular written by Oscar Rasbach in 1922, with renditions performed by Ernestine Schumann-Heink, John Charles Thomas, Nelson Eddy, Robert Merrill and Paul Robeson.

The text stated below is the original written by Kilmer.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

There have been several variations on the text, including many parody texts substituted to mimic Kilmer's seemingly simple rhyme and meter, and questioning the poem's choice of metaphors.[37] Of the often repeated parodies, one of the most known is "Song of the Open Road" by Ogden Nash (1902–1971):

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.[38]

In the Our Gang short "Arbor Day," Alfalfa, after the cue in a Woodsman-spare-that-tree exchange with Spanky, sings "Trees," in what Leonard Maltin called "the poem's all-time worst rendition," with his whiny, strained voice.

In his album Caught in the Act, Victor Borge, at one point, when playing requests, says, "Sorry I don't know that 'Doggie in the Window'. I know one that comes pretty close to it." Then he starts to play "Trees."

"Trees" was popularised in the 1980 film Superman II, which was filmed by two different directors, Richard Donner in 1977 and Richard Lester in 1979. Donner's original version, belatedly released in 2006, has Marlon Brando reading Kilmer's poem. These scenes had been shot in April 1977. Lester had an unknown British actor reprise Brando's role in July 1979, and it is that actor who appears in the original 1980 theatrical release.

InspirationEdit

According to Kilmer's son, Kenton, the poem—which was not inspired by any specific tree but about trees in general—was written "...in an upstairs bedroom... which served as Mother's and Dad's bedroom and also as Dad's office.... The window looked out down a hill, on our well-wooded lawn - trees of many kinds, from mature trees to thin saplings: oaks, maples, black and white birches, and I do not know what else."[39] However, a 1915 interview with Kilmer "pointed out that while Kilmer might be widely known for his affection for trees, his affection was certainly not sentimental - the most distinguished feature of Kilmer's property was a colossal woodpile outside his home. The house stood in the middle of a forest and what lawn it possessed was obtained only after Kilmer had spent months of weekend toil in chopping down trees, pulling up stumps, and splitting logs. Kilmer's neighbors had difficulty in believing that a man who could do that could also be a poet."[40]

Many locations across the United States maintain legends that certain trees in their localities inspired Kilmer to write the poem. Most noted among them is the tradition in Kilmer's birthplace, New Brunswick, New Jersey, which states that Kilmer wrote the poem "Trees" after a large white oak (Quercus alba) tree that was located on the outskirts of town on the campus of Cook College (now known as the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences), at Rutgers University.[41] This tree, estimated to be over three hundred years old, was so weakened by age and disease that it had to be removed in 1963.[42] Currently, saplings from acorns of the historic tree are being grown at the site, throughout the Middlesex County area, and in major arboretums around the United States. The remains of the original Kilmer Oak are currently kept in storage at Rutgers University.[43][44]

Guy Davenport suggests quite a different inspiration. "Trees were favorite symbols for Yeats, Frost, and even the young Pound. [ . . . ] But Kilmer had been reading about trees in another context[,] the movement to stop child labor and set up nursery schools in slums. [ . . . ] Margaret McMillan . . . had the happy idea that a breath of fresh air and an intimate acquaintance with grass and trees were worth all the pencils and desks in the whole school system. [ . . . ] The English word for gymnasium equipment is 'apparatus.' And in her book Labour and Childhood (1907) you will find this sentence: 'Apparatus can be made by fools, but only God can make a tree.'"[45]

Scansion and analysisEdit

His poem "Trees" has twelve lines of eight syllables in strict iambic tetrameter. The poem's rhyme scheme is rhyming couplets rendered aa bb cc dd ee aa.[46]

Despite its deceptive simplicity in rhyme and meter, "Trees" is notable for its use of personification and anthropomorphic imagery: the tree of the poem, which Kilmer depicts as female, is depicted as pressing its mouth to the Earth's breast, looking at God, and raising its "leafy arms" to pray. The tree of the poem also has human physical attributes — it has a "hungry mouth", arms, hair (in which Robins nest), and a bosom.[47]

Criticism and influenceEdit

Joyce Kilmer's reputation as a poet is staked largely on the widespread popularity of one poem, namely "Trees". His untimely death removed from him the opportunity to develop into a more mature poet. Because "Trees" is often dismissed by modern critics and scholars as simple verse, much of Kilmer's work, especially his literary criticism, has slipped into obscurity. Only a very few of his poems have appeared in anthologies, and with the exception of "Trees" and to a much lesser extent "Rouge Bouquet", almost none have obtained lasting widespread popularity.[48]

The entire corpus of Kilmer's work appears in the early years of the modernist movement, especially before the influence of the Lost Generation. In the years after Kilmer's death, poetry went in new directions, as is seen especially in the work of T. S. Eliot (1888–1965) and Ezra Pound. The years in which Kilmer was writing, and the conservatism and traditional style he used, were the last of the Romantic era. Kilmer's poetry is often criticized for failing to break free of traditional modes, rhyme and meter, or themes, and for being too sentimental to be taken seriously.[49]

Kilmer's early works were inspired by, and were imitative of, the poetry of Algernon Charles Swinburne, Ernest Dowson, Aubrey Beardsley, and William Butler Yeats. It was later through the influence of works by Coventry Patmore, Francis Thompson, and those of Alice Meynell and her children Viola Meynell and Francis Meynell, that Kilmer seems to have become interested in Catholicism.[50] Kilmer wrote of his influences:

"I have come to regard them with intense admiration. Patmore seems to me to be a greater poet than Francis Thompson. He has not the rich vocabulary, the decorative erudition, the Shelleyan enthusiasm, which distinguish the 'Sister Songs' and the 'Hound of Heaven,' but he has a classical simplicity, a restraint and sincerity which make his poems satisfying."[50]

Because he was initially raised Episcopalian (or Anglican), Kilmer became literary editor of the Anglican weekly, The Churchman, before his conversion to Catholicism. During this time he did considerable research into 16th and 17th century Anglican poets as well as metaphysical, or mystic poets of that time, including George Herbert, Thomas Traherne, Robert Herrick, Bishop Coxe, and Robert Stephen Hawker, the Vicar of Morwenstow, the latter whom he referred to as "a coast life-guard in a cassock." These poets also had an influence on Kilmer's writings.[50]

Critics compared Kilmer to British Catholic writers Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton, suggesting that his reputation might have risen to the level where he would have been considered their American counterpart if not for his untimely death.[51][52]

Honors and awardsEdit

Joyce Kilmer Plaque-27527
Dedication plaque in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.

Several municipalities across the United States have named parks, schools, streets and squares in honor of Joyce Kilmer, including his hometown of New Brunswick, New Jersey, which renamed Codwise Avenue, the street on which he was born, "Joyce Kilmer Avenue". In 2007, the city also hosted a Kilmer conference.

The Fighting 69thEdit

In the 1940 film, The Fighting 69th directed by William Keighley and starring James Cagney, Kilmer is depicted as a minor character played by actor Jeffrey Lynn (1909–1995).

Camp KilmerEdit

Camp Kilmer, opened in 1942 in what is now Edison, New Jersey, an embarkation center for soldiers going to the European theatre during World War II. Many of the original buildings remain, and it is now the location of the Livingston campus of Rutgers University where a library is named after him.[53]

Joyce Kilmer ParkEdit

Joyce Kilmer Park, is located along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The park is located very close to Yankee Stadium.

Joyce Kilmer SquareEdit

Joyce Kilmer Square, is located along both Kings Hwy. and Quentin Road at East 12th Street in Brooklyn. It is under the jurisdiction of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, and features a flapole, benches and a memorial to Kilmer.

Joyce Kilmer Middle SchoolEdit

Joyce Kilmer Middle School, located in Fairfax County, Virginia, is named after him.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial FireplaceEdit

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Fireplace - The large stone fireplace was erected in Como Park in St. Paul, MN in 1936 in memory of Kilmer. Today the fireplace is in a state of disrepair and a nearby sunken pool with miniature waterfalls, also named for Kilmer, no longer exists. Kilmer was honored by St. Paul Parks Superintendent W. Lamont Kauffman, who was a charter member of the Joyce Kilmer post of the American Legion.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial ForestEdit

The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest (17,394 acres/15 km²) located in the Nantahala National Forest, near Robbinsville in Graham County, North Carolina was dedicated in Kilmer's memory on July 10, 1936.

Kilmer Rest AreaEdit

The state of New Jersey and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority have named a rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike, located in East Brunswick Township after him.[54]

Joyce Kilmer Elementary SchoolEdit

The town of Mahwah, New Jersey, which was Kilmer's home from about 1913 to the end of his life, has a school named after him, the Joyce Kilmer Elementary School. Nobody's Inn, a bar and grill at 150 Franklin Turnpike in Mahwah (next to the Erie-Lackawanna railroad tracks a few hundred yards from the border of Suffern, New York), which closed in 2002, was widely believed to occupy the house that inspired Kilmer's poem, "The House with Nobody In It." The poem begins, "Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track / I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black."

A Joyce Kilmer Elementary School is located in Trenton, New Jersey, as a part of the Trenton Public Schools district.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry ContestEdit

WorksEdit

  • Summer of Love. (New York: Baker and Taylor, 1911).
  • Trees and Other Poems. (New York: Doubleday Doran and Co., 1914).
  • The Circus and Other Essays. (New York: Lawrence J. Gomme, 1916).
  • Main Street and Other Poems. (New York: George H. Doran, 1917).
  • The Courage of Enlightenment. An address delivered in Campion College, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, to the members of the graduating class, 15 June 1917. (Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin: 1917).
  • Dreams and Images: An Anthology of Catholic Poets. (ed. by Joyce Kilmer). (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1917).
  • Literature in the Making by some of its Makers. (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1917).
  • Poems, Essays and Letters in Two Volumes. Robert Cortes Holliday (ed.). (Volume One: Memoir and Poems, Volume Two: Prose Works) (New York: George H. Doran, 1918 - published posthumously).
  • The Circus and Other Essays and Fugitive Pieces. (New York: George H. Doran, 1921 - published posthumously).

NotesEdit

a Though Joyce was the fourth and youngest child in his family, two of his siblings, Ellen Annie Kilmer (1875–1876) and Charles Willoughby Kilmer (1880), died before his birth, while his oldest brother, Anda Frederick Kilmer (1873–1899), died when Joyce was thirteen years old, most likely a suicide in a Philadelphia hotel.[6]

US Navy Hospital Corpsman John E. Kilmer, a recipent of the Medal of Honor in Korea is a distant relative of Joyce Kilmer.

ReferencesEdit

SpecificEdit

  1. Hillis, John. Joyce Kilmer: A Bio-Bibliography. Master of Science (Library Science) Thesis. Catholic University of America. (Washington, DC: 1962), 27.
  2. Mencken, H. L. The American Mercury. Volume XIII, No. 49. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, January 1928), 33.
  3. Maynard, Theodore. A book of modern Catholic verse. (New York: Henry Holt, 1925), 16–17.
  4. "Mrs. F. B. Kilmer Dead; Mother of War Poet. Wrote of Memories of Her Son Who Was Killed in France in 1918. Was Native of Albany.". New York Times. January 2, 1932, Saturday. 
  5. Certificate of Birth for Alfred Joyce Kilmer, December 6, 1886, on microfilm at the Archives of the State of New Jersey, 225 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Joyce Kilmer: FAQ and Fancies, website published by Miriam A. Kilmer, with Kilmer genealogical information. Retrieved 26 December 2006.
  7. For Dr. Kilmer as the inventor of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder, see: "Famous Tree Poem originates at U." by Annie Reuter, from The Daily Targum 12 October 2004. Retrieved 28 December 2006.
  8. Richard G. Durnin; Joyce Kilmer and New Brunswick, New Jersey; Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission (1993)
  9. List of Missionaries and Rectors - Christ Church in New Brunswick, NJ, published by Christ Church (Episcopal), New Brunswick, New Jersey (no further authorship information available). Retrieved 17 August 2006.
  10. Baptismal Records for Christ Church, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  11. "Historic New Brunswick". Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. http://web.archive.org/web/20070310054802/http://www.newbrunswick.com/historic.asp. , published by New Brunswick City Market, (no further authorship information given) accessed 17 August 2006.
  12. Hillis, op. cit., 9.
  13. Hillis, op. cit., 10.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Hillis, op. cit., 11.
  15. Certificate of Marriage for Aline Murray and Alfred Joyce Kilmer, 9 June 1908, on microfilm at the Archives of the State of New Jersey, 225 West State Street, Trenton, New Jersey.
  16. Saint Benedict's
  17. Hillis, op. cit., 13.
  18. Hillis, op. cit., 14.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Holliday, Robert Cortes (ed.). "Memoir" in Joyce Kilmer: Poems, Essays and Letters. 2 volumes. (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1918), 1:24.; Hillis, op. cit., 21
  20. Hillis, op. cit., 18
  21. Letter from Joyce Kilmer to Father James J. Daly, January 9, 1914, in Holliday, Robert Cortes (ed.) and Kilmer, Joyce. Poems, Essays and Letters in Two Volumes. (New York: George H. Doran, 1918 - published posthumously).
  22. Daly, James Jeremiah. "Some letters of Joyce Kilmer." in his A Cheerful Ascetic, and other essays. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Bruce, 1931), 76-86.
  23. Hillis, op. cit., 35.
  24. Hillis, op. cit., 32.
  25. Letter from Joyce Kilmer to Aline Kilmer, 24 November 1917.
  26. World War I Diary of Joseph J. Jones Sr., published at website "One Jones Family" by Joseph J. Jones III. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
  27. The History of the Fighting 69th: Rouge Bouquet (no further authorship information given). Retrieved 27 December 2006.
  28. Duffy, Francis Patrick. Father Duffy’s Story. (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1919), 350.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Hillis, op. cit., 36.
  30. Duffy, op. cit., 193.
  31. "Joyce Kilmer Slain On The West Front; Former Member Of Times Staff Had Won Sergeantcy In The 165th Of Infantry. His Writings Well Known Author Was Rutgers And Columbia Graduate--Several Veterans Of The 69th Killed. His Lusitania Poem. Fought At The Marne. Veteran Of 69th Killed. Lieut. Harwood 'Doing Fine.' Parents Receive Letter Written After Date Of Reported Death.". New York Times. August 18, 1918, Sunday. "Sergeant Joyce Kilmer of the 165th Infantry of the Rainbow Division, who was one of the 147 members of the staff of The New York Times to enter the service of his country, has been killed in France. He was 31 years old." 
  32. "Joyce Kilmer cited for French War Cross.". New York Times. January 2, 1919. 
  33. "Mass for Joyce Kilmer. Memorial Service at St. Patrick's Cathedral Tomorrow Morning.". New York Times. October 13, 1918, Sunday. "Plans have been completed for the solemn memorial mass for Joyce Kilmer, poet and journalist, who was killed on July 30 at the battle of the Oureq. The mass, which is held under the auspices of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial ..." 
  34. Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) - Author of Trees and Other Poems, website published by Miriam A. Kilmer, which cites Kilmer, Kenton. Memories of my Father, Joyce Kilmer (Joyce Kilmer Centennial, 1993) ISBN 978-0963752406. Retrieved 25 December 2006.
  35. Full text of poem and dedication. Accessed 2 September 2007.
  36. "Mrs. Henry Alden, Writer, dies at 70. Was Widow of Editor of Harper's. Won National Award at 76. Published at 15. Poem, 'Trees,' Was Dedicated to her by Author, Joyce Kilmer, Her Son-in-Law.". New York Times. April 12, 1936. 
  37. An "interpretive travesty" of the poem
  38. Nash, Ogden. "Song of the Open Road" first published in Argosy. Vol. 12 No. 8. (July 1951), 63.
  39. Joyce Kilmer (1886 - 1918) - Author of Trees and Other Poems, website published by Miriam A. Kilmer, which cites Kilmer, Kenton. Memories of my Father, Joyce Kilmer (Joyce Kilmer Centennial, 1993) ISBN 978-0963752406. Retrieved 25 December 2006.
  40. Hillis, op. cit., 28.
  41. What a Difference a Tree Makes citing Lax, Roer and Smith, Frederick. The Great Song Thesaurus. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989). ISBN 0195054083. Retrieved 25 December 2006.
  42. The New York Times, September 19, 1963. Of note, in an article reporting the demise of the "Kilmer Oak" is a quote that "Rutgers said it could not prove that Kilmer...had been inspired by the oak." which further confirms this attribution is unsubstantiated and its dissemination within the realm of rumor and urban (or in this case, provincial) legend.
  43. Kilmer Oak Tree, Highland Park (NJ) Environmental Commission (no further authorship information given). Retrieved 26 December 2006.
  44. Press Release: "Cook Student Named New Jersey Cooperative Education and Internship Association Student of the Year" (Press Release: 13 June 2006), published by Cook College, Rutgers University and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, no further authorship information given. Retrieved 26 December 2006.
  45. Davenport, Guy. "Trees", in The Geography of the Imagination. (The Akadine Press, 1997). ISBN 1-888173-33-5. 177-9
  46. Dunnings, Stephen. "Scripting: A Way of Talking" in The English Journal, Vol. 63, No. 6 (September, 1974), 32-40, passim.
  47. Boyle, Frederick H. "Eighth Graders Discover Poetry" in The English Journal, Vol. 46, No. 8 (November, 1957), 506-507.
  48. Hillis, op. cit., 26, 40.
  49. Aiken, Conrad Potter. “Confectionary and caviar: Edward Bliss Reed, John Cowper Powys, Joyce Kilmer, Theodosia Garrison, William Carlos Williams,” in Scepticisms. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1919), 178-86.
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Hillis, op. cit., 19.
  51. Campbell, Pearl H. "Kilmer, late laureate of the Catholic Church" in Magnificat. Volume 64. (June 1939), 78-82
  52. Connolly, Helen. "Kilmer the essayist" in Magnificat. Volume 76. (July 1945), 128-31
  53. Mappen, Marc. The Encyclopedia of New Jersey (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2004), 117.
  54. Kilmer Rest Area - New Jersey Turnpike published by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (no further authorship information available). Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  55. The Philolexian Society at the Philolexian Foundation website. Published by the Philolexian Foundation (no further authorship information available). Retrieved 13 January 2007.

Books and printed materialsEdit

  • Aiken, Conrad Potter. “Confectionary and caviar: Edward Bliss Reed, John Cowper Powys, Joyce Kilmer, Theodosia Garrison, William Carlos Williams,” in Scepticisms. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1919). NO ISBN. (Pre-1964)
  • Boyle, Frederick H. "Eighth Graders Discover Poetry" in The English Journal, Vol. 46, No. 8 (November, 1957), 506-507.
  • Campbell, Pearl H. "Kilmer, late laureate of the Catholic Church" in Magnificat. Volume 64. (June 1939), 78-82
  • Cargas, Harry J. I lay down my life: A Biography of Joyce Kilmer (Boston, Massachusetts: Daughters of Saint Paul Editions, 1964). NO ISBN (pre-1964)
  • Connolly, Helen. "Kilmer the essayist" in MagnificaAlfred Joyce Kilmer (December 6, 1886 – July 30, 1918) was an American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer and editor. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer is remembered most for a poem entitled Trees (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. While most of his works are unknown, a select few of his poems remain popular and are published frequently in anthologies. Several critics, both Kilmer's contemporaries and modern scholars, disparaged Kilmer's work as being too simple, overly sentimental, and that his style was far too traditional, even archaic.

At the time of his deployment to Europe during the first World War (1914–1918), Kilmer was considered the leading American Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953).[1][2][3] A sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, Kilmer was killed at the Second Battle of Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.

t. Volume 76. (July 1945), 128-31.

  • Covell, John E. Joyce Kilmer: A Literary Biography. (Brunswick, Georgia: Write-Fit Communications, 2000). ISBN 978-0615111759
  • Daly, James Jeremiah. A Cheerful Ascetic, and other essays. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Bruce, 1931). NO ISBN (Pre-1964).
  • Duffy, Francis Patrick. Father Duffy’s Story. (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1919). NO ISBN (Pre-1964).
  • Dunnings, Stephen. "Scripting: A Way of Talking" in The English Journal, Vol. 63, No. 6 (September, 1974), 32-40, passim.
  • Hillis, John. Joyce Kilmer: A Bio-Bibliography. Master of Science (Library Science) Thesis. Catholic University of America. (Washington, DC: 1962). NO ISBN.
  • Holliday, Robert Cortes (ed.). “Memoir,” in Joyce Kilmer: Poems, Essays and Letters, 2 volumes. (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1918), 1:17ff. NO ISBN (Pre-1964).
  • Kilmer, Annie Kilburn. Whimsies, More Whimsies. (New York: Frye Publishing Co., 1929). NO ISBN (Pre-1964).
  • Kilmer, Annie Kilburn. Memories of My Son, Sergeant Joyce Kilmer. (New York: Brentano's, 1920). NO ISBN (Pre-1964).
  • Kilmer, Annie Kilburn. Leaves of My Life. (New York: Frye Publishing Co., 1925). NO ISBN (Pre-1964).
  • Kilmer, Kenton. Memories of my Father, Joyce Kilmer (Joyce Kilmer Centennial, 1993). ISBN 978-0963752406
  • Lax, Roer and Smith, Frederick. The Great Song Thesaurus. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989). ISBN 0195054083
  • Mencken, H. L. The American Mercury. Volume XIII, No. 49. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, January 1928). NO ISBN (pre-1964)
  • Maynard, Theodore. A book of modern Catholic verse. (New York: Henry Holt, 1925). NO ISBN (pre-1964)
  • Roberto, Brother C.S.C. Death Beneath the Trees: A Story of Joyce Kilmer (South Bend, Indiana: Dujarie Press (University of Notre Dame), 1967). NO ISBN (Privately published).
  • Smaridge, Norah. Pen and Bayonet: The Story of Joyce Kilmer. (Stroud, Gloucestershire, England: Hawthorn Books, 1962). NO ISBN (Pre-1964).

External linksEdit


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