Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Poetry for Sale

In writing about the culture of tipping surrounding 19th century carriers' addresses, I was reminded of this photo of "Poetry for Sale" that I snagged off of eBay some time back. I didn't win the auction, but did find that "Curly Shingles" and "Tramp Star" were pseudonyms for Methodist minister Carl Wilson of Brown County Indiana. In 1941, Tramp Starr wrote what is now his most noted work—a volume titled "Population 359" which is set in the town of Milan, Indiana, home to the Milan High School basketball team of the 1986 movie Hoosiers.

7 comments:

Bryan Voell said...

I've always said that the name Curly should make a comeback. This photo is a true classic. Do you know anything abut what kind of poetry he was shilling out for benjamins? With a name like Curly Shingles, I'd certainly pay up.

jeaniek said...

Tramp Starr was my grandfather. He wrote several books of poetry (I have two but not for sale) He wrote very simple "homespun" poems. I opened one book at random and here is the first verse of a typical rhyme. "Jim"... I wouldn't say Jim wished his wife was dead. His partner for a score of years, or more - But he was plenty sick of her, folks said, And even joked when crepe hung on the door. He had a regular column in the Indianapolis Star .. hence his name. The column was called Jokes and Jingles from Curly Shingles. Curly Shingles was the name of his home in Mores Hill, Indiana. He was a popular speaker at luncheons, dinners, meetings..lots of humor. He won a restaurant and bar in Nashville, Indiana in a poker game. Ran it until his death. Don't know quite what else to tell you. Hope this works for you.

jeaniek said...

I forgot to tell you that the lady behind the sign was my grandmother, Marjorie Wilson. I believe I forgot to tell you that my grandfather's real name was Carl Wilson.

No1special said...

jeaniek im from moores hill and am curious if you could email me, im very interested in your grandfather and his poetry. there seems to be controversy surrounding some of his publishing in the Indianapolis star. you can find my email on my profile or msg me through blogger thanks.

PeteDC said...

"Population 359" is about life in Moores Hill, Indiana (in Dearborn County), not Milan, a slightly larger town that is a few miles away (in Ripley County). I have a copy of the original volume and it begins with a cartoon drawing of the Moores Hill city limits sign.

DeeH said...

I am trying to find the original wording/punctuation for a poem called "My Farm" that i believe was written by Tramp Starr. My husband was born and raised on a farm in North Dakota, and remembers the poem from his parents. we cannot find anything with the actual poem -- it went something like this:
My farm to me is not jsut land
where bare unpainted buildings stand
to me my farm is nothing less
than all created loveliness

if any of you have the whole poem, with corrected wording etc., i would really appreciate getting it so i can type it up for myu husband and our kids. Than you!

AmyKris said...

DeeH I think I have the poem you are looking for. I found this site researching a book I found entitled My Indiana Farm by Tramp Starr. Inside the cover in pencil is written son of C-W (I think it's a W) Wilson One of my best friends the first poem is titled My Indiana Farm.If you would like to send me an email I would be glad to copy it for you. Amykris810@aol.com blessings its a poem about Gods presence on the farm.Very beautiful :)