Edgar Guest 1935

Edgar Guest (1881-1959) Photo by NBC Radio, 1935. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Edgar Guest
Born Edgar Albert Guest
August 20, 1881
Birmingham, England
Died August 5, 1959 (aged 77)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Resting place Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit
Occupation Poet
Nationality English
Citizenship American

Edgar Albert Guest (August 20, 1881 - August 5, 1959) (aka Eddie Guest) was a prolific English-born American poet who was popular in the first half of the 20th century, becoming known as the "People's Poet".


Guest was born in 1881 in Birmingham, England, to Julia (Wayne) and Edwin Guest. In 1891, his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Detroit, Michigan.[1]

In 1893 Edwin Guest lost his job, and Edgar began working after school. He was hired in 1895 by the Detroit Free Press as a copy boy. His father died when he was 17, and he went to work for the paper full time, working his way up to reporter.[1]

His first poem appeared in the Free Press on December 11, 1898.[2] In 1904 he began a weekly column, "Chaff".[1]

He became a naturalized citizen in 1902.

For 40 years, Guest was widely read throughout North America, and his sentimental, optimistic poems were in the same vein as the light verse of Nick Kenny, who wrote syndicated columns during the same decades.

From his first published work in the Detroit Free Press until his death in 1959, Guest published some 15,000 poems which were published in over 200 newspapers.[2]

His verses were collected in more than 20 books, including A Heap o' Livin' (1916) and Just Folks (1917).

He hosted a weekly Detroit radio show from 1931 until 1942, followed by a 1951 NBC television series, A Guest in Your Home.[2]

Guest died in Detroit in 1959. He is buried in Detroit's Woodlawn Cemetery.[3]


Guest called himself "a newspaper man who wrote verses." Of his writing he said: "I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them."[1]


Guest was made Poet Laureate of Michigan, the only poet to ever have been awarded the title.

Guest's work still occasionally appears in periodicals such as Reader's Digest, and some favorites, such as "Myself" and "Thanksgiving," are still studied today. Dorothy Parker is the reputed author of one of the most quoted appraisals of his work: "I'd rather flunk my Wasserman test/ Than read the poetry of Edgar Guest."

His great-niece Judith Guest is a successful novelist who wrote Ordinary People.

In popular cultureEdit

Guest received a mention in Lemony Snicket's The Grim Grotto, though not in a particularly favorable manner.



  • Home Rhymes, from "Breakfast Table Chat". Detroit, MI: H.R. Guest, 1909.
  • Just Glad Things. Detroit, MI: n.p., 1911.
  • Breakfast Table Chat. Detroit, MI: n.p.,, 1914.
  • A Heap o' Livin'. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1916.
  • Just Folks. Chicago: Reilly & Britton, 1917.
  • Over Here. Chicago: Reilly & Britton, 1918.
    • also published as Poems of Patriotism. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1922; Chicago: Rand McNally, 1942.
  • The Path to Home. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1919.
  • A Dozen New Poems. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1920.[1]
  • Sunny Songs. 1920.[1]
  • When Day Is Done. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1921.
  • All That Matters. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1922.
  • Making the House a Home. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1922.
  • The Passing Throng. Chicago,: Reilly & Lee, 1923.
  • Mother. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1925.
  • Friends. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1925.
  • Home. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1925.
  • The Light of Faith. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1926.
  • You. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1927.
  • Harbor Lights of Home. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1928.
  • You Can't Live Your Own Life. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1928.
  • Rhymes of Childhood. 1928.[1]
  • Why I Go to Church. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1929.
  • Poems for the Home Folks. 1930.[1]
  • Selected Poems. Chicago: J. Thomas & Co,, 1931.
  • The Friendly Way. 1931.
  • Faith. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1932.
  • Life's Highway. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1933.
  • Collected Verse of Edgar Guest. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1934.
  • Edgar A. Guest Broadcasting. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1935.
  • All in a Lifetime. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1938.
  • Today and Tomorrow. . Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1942.
  • Living the Years. . Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1949.
  • Favorite Verse. . New York: Permabooks, 1950.


  • James Whitcomb Riley. Chicago: Reilly & Britton, 1917.
  • Between You and Me: My Philosophy of Life. 1938.
  • My Job as a Father, and What My Father Did for Me. Chicago: Reilly & Lee,. 1923.
  • What My Religion Means to Me. Chicago: Reilly & Lee,. 1925.
  • Between You and Me: My Philosophy of Life. Chicago: Reilly & Lee,. 1938.
  • Edgar A. Guest Says It Can Be Done. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1938.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy the Poetry Foundation.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Edgar Guest," Academy of American Poets,, Web, June 23, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Clyde McDonnell, "Some Poems by Edgar Albert Guest," Moments with Poetry, Apr. 2, 2010,, Web, June 23, 2011.
  3. "Edgar Guest" #427,, Web, June 23, 2011.
  4. "Edgar Albert Guest 1881-1959," Poetry Foundation, Web, Mar. 31, 2012.

External linksEdit

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