What's New at the Archive
November 14, 2003
Due to life, graduate school, and other interests, I have neglected this page and will likely continue to do so. However, I'm pleased to announce that HarperCollins, in conjunction with Shel's family and estate, has launched the official site, designed for children and likely answering the vast majority of queries I get: how to get permission to use one of his works. Check it out at the handy URL of ShelSilverstein.com. It's wonderfully done, designed by Shel's longtime friend and graphic designer Kim Llewellyn, with clips from the "Underwater Land" CD along for the ride. Frankly, I love it. See for yourselves.
February 25, 2003
Good lord, no updates in over a year. Well, I guess I have been busy, as life, grad school, and bookselling have taken priority. However, I have managed to track down what I think is an extremely important part of Shel's career: his earliest known published works, cartoons and other assorted materials for his college newspaper, the Roosevelt Torch. I'm extremely excited to have found these items--not seen in public for decades and available on the web for the very first time. I hope you share my enthusiasm.
October 13, 2001
To say that there hasn't been an update in a long time would be an understatement, but many things have transpired since then--a move to a new city (New York), starting graduate school, changes in priorities. Basically this site went on the backburner. But tonight I feel re-energized, as I have just seen the production of "An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein" at the Atlantic Theater. A review will be posted shortly, but in the meantime, you can read an article that appears in tomorrow's New York Times. I think you'll all appreciate it as much as I do--it's a remembrance of Shel by his longtime friend and fellow playwright David Mamet, and frankly, it's about time he came out with a public comment about his good friend.
January 16, 2001
Not a substantial update, but still some new stuff: -Chicago Tribune review of the play "Happy Endings"
-a couple of links worth checking out
-updated (slightly) the "Songwriter" section, though it's still a major work in progress
-duplicated the Aardvark Interview link in the "Interviews" section, and also moved the link to the Stars and Stripes 50th Anniversary article over there as well.
-Finally, the Spotlight article is an account of the farewell party given to one of Shel's oldest and dearest friends, the legendary folksinger Bob Gibson, who died in 1996.
December 7, 2000
Visitors to the Archive are in for a real treat: Somehow, I managed to dig up a highly obscure interview of Shel Silverstein conducted by a long-defunct college humor magazine based out of Chicago. As I've said in the opening page, it really is a must read--Shel reveals quite a bit in terms of personal philosophy and opinions on major issues that not only were controversial then but remain so today. In fact, I think it's safe to say that some of Shel's remarks extremely applicable to the way society is today. I really hope every one of you enjoys reading this as much as I did.
November 26, 2000
Added a brand new section today, devoted to what has now become a lost art: liner notes. And the kinds that Shel wrote were, well, unique and indicative of his personality. Even though the subject of some of the notes are people most of you have never heard of, I think they are definitely worthwhile reading. As usual, there's more to come on this section, like all the other ones here at the Archive.
November 19, 2000
Oh my, my, my, has it ever been a long time since the Archive's been updated. Well, real life has a funny way of interfering, especially the transition from poor student to employed stiff (however long that lasts!). So it's only been in the last week or two that I've even contemplated updating this site. In any case, here's what's been changed:
-The spotlight is now on a 1995 article that appeared in the Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper commemorating its 50th Anniversary. Shel, who was a P.F.C from 1953 to 1955, also contributed a cartoon for the issue, which I hope to obtain and upload here in the next couple of weeks.
-Fixed a few broken links in the Links section as well as in the Plays. If there are any more please email me.
-Added some new links, as well as information about the Lafcadio Dedication.
Coming soon: an extremely obscure interview that Shel did with a Chicago underground magazine in the early 1960s. I've been told it's excellent, and I can't wait to share it with you all.
March 9, 2000
Today marks the first anniversary of the Shel Silverstein Archive. You can read my thoughts here. I've also updated the Dedications page as well to reflect some new information I have received about Shel's daughter.
January 28, 2000
So, another long drought between updates. Might as well get used to it being a monthly thing now, at best. Anyway, I cleaned up a couple of things: various people had been complaining that the link to "The Devil and Billy Markham" text off of the "Plays" page was not working, so I finally fixed that. I've added some new links, as well. Also added a page about Shel's last play, "The Lifeboat is Sinking", though it doesn't really offer much more information, alas.
But the meat of the update lies in a review of an album that was never supposed to see the light of day. To find out more, go to the Spotlight link off of the main page. Hopefully I've offered a taste of what Shel was trying to do, which was be as outrageous as possible and have a damn good time doing so.
December 10, 1999
I bet all of you thought I'd never get around to updating this site again, didn't you? Well you might have been right, because I am quite surprised I did it before the new millenium hits me in the face and dumps a new Ice Storm in the area. Just what I need...but anyway, although it is a new update, I haven't done a major overhaul like I promised in the last installment of "What's New". I will, but this is also my final year of undergrad and I've been too busy studying my brains off and injecting rats to pay a lot of attention to the Archive.
But for now, enjoy the newest section: I've added a page of Links to point all of you to some websites you may not have visited before even though all of them are, even tenuously, Shel-related. I've also updated the "Report from Practically Nowhere" section quite a bit, reflecting the fact that John Sack is now a Netizen and a Web presence. And I've put in a little mention of the last play Shel Silverstein ever got produced: The Lifeboat is Sinking. In my next update (which won't be in another 3 months, I promise!) I'll have some more information about the play and its performance at the Ensemble Studio Theater.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah (what's left of it, anyway), Happy Kwanzaa, and I wish everybody a wonderful holiday and remember--The Y2K thing can't be as bad as predicted. If I could live through an Ice Storm, I can handle anything!
September 6, 1999
God, it's been so long since I worked on the Archive. One of these days I will have to do a major overhaul, I am sure. But anyway, this time I added a bit to the Report from Practically Nowhere section, including a link to an email that John Sack, the author, sent Carol Arnett about his book. He also indicated that it will be reprinted by the Author's Guild, a group of authors who have managed to buy back the rights to various out-of-print books and are reprinting as many as they can. You can find their site here.
August 2, 1999
The Archive got its first award! OK, I had to lobby just a little for it, but an award is an award any way you look at it. The Archive is an August Web pick over at mystery writer Sparkle Hayter's website, Planet Sparkle. Sparkle's books are all about Robin Hudson, a wonderfully funny reporter who has a rather insane take on New York and life. And once you've checked out the site, you can probably see that Sparkle's sense of humor is pretty insane as well.
So I am just feeling a little happy today :-)
July 31, 1999
For the first time in a long time, I added a brand new section to the Archive. I've been meaning to do it for a few months, but finally got around to adding a section which, at least, appeals to me. It's for all the people who ever wonder who are the deserving folk who get dedications or acknowledgements.
Of course, this section isn't complete yet, and there's actually quite a lot of speculation included. So I'd really love to have the gaps filled sometime soon.
July 23, 1999
First, I feel like celebrating the fact that my hit count on the Archive has passed the five-digit mark! To whoever was the lucky person (and I know it wasn't me ;->) well...have the satisfaction of knowing you were the privileged person. Maybe someday I'll run a contest...What do you think?
Some minor additions to the Playboy Contributions section. Although the page insists that the list is still incomplete, I think that with the exception of a couple of points marked "unknown satire", I think I've got just about everything. Pretty amazing and pretty varied. Even though Shel had definitely tapered off starting around 1982, I would bet there's a real hole that the Playboy people won't--and may not want to--fill.
And coming soon: a section about Shel Silverstein's involvement in the movies.
July 22, 1999
I've added a couple of extras about Shel's 1985 play called "The Crate". Accompanying the original New York Times Theater Review is one by Clive Barnes of the New York Post, as well as a preview article with some really neat quotes from Shel himself. Definitely worth reading, if I may say so.
I still don't know what to do with the music section. It's been "coming soon!" for months, I know, but what I want to do--a complete lyric archive--is an awfully daunting task all by myself. Added to the fact that Carol's Banned Width already has a stellar lyric collection, and am in a bit of a quandary. But we shall see.
July 4, 1999
Well, the last month passed by pretty quickly, because it certainly didn't seem that long since I'd last updated the page. Well, starting a new job has that effect...
Anyway, just a minor addition today: I finally got around to transcribing "The Guilty Party", published in the "Murder and Obsession" anthology back in March. Unless I am mistaken, it's the last published work of Shel's before his death. It's short story length, so it may be tough reading for one page only. Let me know if the story should be broken into several pages.
I suspect that the updates will be few and far between this summer. However, by its end I should have some more play-related items, some Dr. Hook-related articles and interviews, and some funky pictures too! Stay tuned.
May 31, 1999
I realize that the Archive is far from complete. And yet, I'm always surprised when I come across something new--because after all, why now, and not before? Is it some karma, or am I a better researcher than I used to be?
OK, maybe I'm getting philosophical or something. Anyway, today is what I will call "Playday", if only because I've added sections on two more sets of plays. The first, "The Empty Room and Other Plays", marked the inauguration of the Wildcliff Theater on October 15, 1986. The second, "the Bed Plays",was part of the 1993 edition of the Key West Festival. As well, I've made some code changes on some of the other listings so that it's easier to read (at least for me).
I've about lost count how many plays Shel wrote. I wonder how many were unproduced, especially since there was quite a gap between the ones produced at the Ensemble Studio Theater....
May 29, 1999
Today's addition to the Archive is a review of Shel Silverstein's last produced play (thus far--never know what will pop up in the next little while), "The Trio", part of the Ensemble Studio Theater's 1998 edition of their continuing Marathon series of one-act plays. The premise is highly intriguing, if only because it deals a lot with classical music and musicians, something which I know a fair bit about. I'm also really glad I found it because I was certain that Silverstein was writing plays up till the very end of his life, or at least close to it. Now all I have to do is fill in all the gaps.
May 26, 1999
Wow, almost ten days since I last updated the page. Of course, going on vacation and subsequently dealing with The Flight From Hell might have something to do with it. I hate Continental Airlines. God, do I ever. But excuse me, I digress :-)
There's a new addition to the main page. A wonderful guy named Craig Brittain sent me a piece that Shel Silverstein did for Playboy in December, 1970, entitled "The End". A fairly appropriate addition in light of his death, I suppose. But it's a neat little story.
So now I have two of Shel's short stories. There must be more out there.
May 17, 1999
I didn't exactly add much to the site, though I have moved the "Report from Practically Nowhere" link to the Books page, and the music link will actually work as of 7:30 PM EDT tonight.
It's been a week since Shel Silverstein died. Under Jewish law, family members and friends are supposed to gather together in one of the family members' homes to sit shiva, the Hebrew word for sitting. I've actually done this, and even though it's supposed to be depressing, I remember it as a time where people come together to remember the dead, share in stories, and often laugh. At least, that's how my family wound up doing it.
Of course, most of the people visiting the Archive aren't family members, may not even be friends and colleagues. But as fans, we certainly did come together to share, to remember, to celebrate the passing of an artist unlike any other. So if this is what is known as "virtual shiva", then I'll go for that.
And inevitably, I've faced the question of "What now?" I suppose deep down I'd hoped that Silverstein might have known, or at least been made dimly aware of, this page. I'll never know now. But as long as there are fans--the old and the new--this page will exist. After all, there is still so much to add and to discover.
And boy, have I managed to ramble on this time. Oh well. Just enjoy what's here, like I keep saying. It's the best tribute I can think of.
May 11, 1999
God, what a difference a few days make. I'm not going to add anything different than what's already on the opening page, except for this--with all the tumult of the news, I will probably only be doing updates to the opening page, adding articles that are relevant. The rest of the pages will likely stay untouched for a while.
And I urge you, if you haven't already, to sign The Guestbook at Carol's Banned Width site. Or at least read through the entries. They have been a tremendous inspiration to me, and I am certain it will have the same effect on all of you.
May 5, 1999
Oh, today was such a good day. I got two rare LP's, including one that is currently going for over $25 bucks on Ebay, Who is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying These Terrible Things About Me?, and added a nice chunk to the Plays section.
New today is an update to the entry about "Gorilla": the text's the same, but I've added pictures. I completely retooled the page about "Wild Life" adding a nice graphic and just making a general introduction about it. The New York Times Theater Review link can be accessed of this page. Finally, I found out about two more of Silverstein's plays that premiered at the Goodman Theater in Chicago: "Very, Very Serious Plays", from 1985, and "Happy Endings" from 1986. The latter link is not up yet, but will be tomorrow.
May 3, 1999
The most notable addition can be accessed right off the main page: it's about the book Report from Practically Nowhere, which was written by noted journalist, Esquire contributor, and sometime rabble-rouser John Sack, with illustrations by Shel Silverstein. It's almost never mentioned in conjunction with Silverstein's career, but I thought I'd let you all know what it's all about.
As well, I added a couple of little changes to the Dr. Hook page. Eventually I will add more stuff to it; I know it is sorely lacking. Much thanks to Andy May for the small changes.
April 29, 1999
Now that finals are finally over, I can get back to updating the Archive more regularly. Today I added some new info I received this week about "Gorilla", the only one of Silverstein's plays that premiered outside of New York. Eventually (when I figure it out), I will add some pictures to the page: one of the playbill, and one rather goofy group that must have come from those $3 machines that pop up in subway and train stations. Where the picture quality is pathetic at best. Very funny photos
April 21, 1999
I took off the link to the "Unreleased LP" off of the main page. Eventually it will have a home, but that won't be until I decide what to do with the "Songwriter" page. The "Question of the Week" is off as well, because obviously, it was up for almost three weeks. And no one did give me an answer...I guess no one really knows. Fair enough ;-)
I did add something new to the Books section: a very detailed look at Grab Your Socks!, the paperback version (published by Ballantine) of Take Ten. I got it in the mail yesterday, and I am so happy to own it.
April 15, 1999
OK, I lied a little yesterday, because I did update the page today. It was just too good to wait on it.
There's a new section on the main page, though eventually it will be put under the "Shel the Songwriter" section. It's a report on an unreleased acetate LP likely recorded in the mid 60s. An audition that Shel blew off...in the most spectacular of ways. I don't think it was meant to see the light of day but...that's the way things go sometimes, I guess. Of course, I want more: show me the lyrics!
April 14, 1999
OK, this is not really an update. I just wanted to make the site look current ;-)
Seriously, I doubt I'll be updating the Archive much in the next couple of weeks. My first final is this Friday (April 16) and...um...I still have a lot of studying to do. Then two more written finals and a take-home paper to do, and it will all be done by the 29th. Yippee! Oh, and if anyone cares at all, the courses are History of Life (Paleontology/Evolution), Developmental Biology, Neuropsychology, and Human Genetics. Yes, I am a science geek, and damn proud of it.
But after finals are done, I can add some new goodies like:
--my review of "Different Dances"
--a blurb about a collaboration between Shel and one John Sack, entitled "Reporting from Practically Nowhere"
--more articles about Dr. Hook
--more children's book articles and criticism
--some more of my own attempts at literary criticism
So in the meantime, enjoy what's here, and do send me email, which I will be most happy to answer. After all, a girl has to check email.
By the way, this is probably as personal as I am going to get on this site. Just so you know.
April 8, 1999
Only a small update today--I added a little blurb on the "Shel Silverstein: Crime Writer?" page about "Guilty Party", a short story contained in the new hardcover "Murder and Obsession". I've read it. It's really good. It's in bookstores now. And tell me what you think, because I have my own ideas...
April 6, 1999
Well, by complete accident, I came across the famous (well, it's often quoted, anyway) interview Silverstein gave to Publisher's Weekly back in 1975. It's the one where he said he'd "give no more interviews", and he's stuck to it...mostly. You can now access it, along with a couple of other ones I've managed to find, at the brand-new Interviews page.
I've also added a review of "Different Dances" from the July 2, 1979 edition of Publisher's Weekly. It's very short but still quite positive, completely different from the dour outlook of the review for the New York Times Book Review. I find it fascinating how Silverstein's work can elicit such strong reactions on both sides.
April 3, 1999
It's been a while since I updated the page, but I have added a brand new feature: the Question of the Week. This will deal with any burning questions I have, or maybe one of you will send me a question and I can give all the Archive readers a chance to answer the question. Basically, it's designed to be interactive. Then again, I'm sure I could come up with questions for years...
I also added a couple more entries to the "Shel Silverstein Contributions to Playboy" page. Don't forget, if you find any errors or new entries, pass it on--I'll add it as soon as I can.
March 26, 1999
It's been a while since I've updated the page; real life has a tendency to creep up and steal your time away from what's really important. Or so I like to think.
Anyway, the newest section at the archive is entirely due to randomly perusing the bookstore: you never know what you're going to find. In this case, take a look at "Shel Silverstein: Crime Writer?", a section devoted to his contributions to Otto Penzler's mystery anthologies. The poems are definite extensions of Silverstein's work, but still...I was floored. And ecstatic. "My Enemy" is now my favorite poem of his. I hope you like it, and "For What She Had Done" as much as I did.
March 21, 1999
I've added another section to the main page: a short essay on literary criticism as it pertains to Shel Silverstein. It's an opinion piece, so you may totally agree with me or think I have no right to have the opinions I do, but whatever you think, by all means, let me know.
March 20, 1999
Added one entirely new section today: Shel Silverstein's Contributions to Playboy Magazine. It's easily linked from the main page, and my aim is to have a complete listing of everything Silverstein has ever written, drawn, or just plain done for the magazine (think nudist colony. Enough said).
I want to specifically thank Ebay and Carol Arnett, because without them, this list wouldn't be up. Period.
March 19, 1999
Added another review of "The Devil and Billy Markham," this time from New Yorker magazine. It's quite well-written, and a favorable review from a woman who doesn't seem to mind the very male humor of the play. Can't say I agree with everything--her assertion that Silverstein and David Mamet are "switching places" in their chosen style is pretty wrong, if you ask me--but hey, a review is a review.
March 17, 1999
I've been adding new articles almost every day, but starting today, I will be keeping track of what I actually put on the site, making it easier for me and for you.
So today, I have added the Spotlight article, "The Third Mr. Silverstein". A short, but extremely insightful, look at what Shel Silverstein thinks of his own work, his take on interviews..oops, I mean conversations, and a delightful story about how you can't really get rid of the tooth fairy, no matter how hard you try.
I've also added the oldest review I could find of "Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book", and William Cole's writeup of "Where the Sidewalk Ends" for Saturday Review. In the Dr. Hook section of the archive, check out "Goodbye Bunny, Hello Dr. Hook" from 1975. If you already thought these guys were irreverent and odd, well, this article isn't going to change your mind. But hey, the bunny story made me cry!
Back to the Main Page