The Freedom From Religion Foundation, in collaboration with the Yip Harburg Foundation, has issued Rhymes for the Irreverent (2006) by Yip Harburg, lyricist of such iconic and beloved songs as "Over the Rainbow," "Paper Moon" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"
Captured in crystalline rhyme are comments lyrical and satirical on the human condition. Harburg, an avid agnostic, devoted much of his light verse to iconoclastic comment about religion. His subjects range from the nursery to religion, philosophy, war, ethics, Watergate, music, planned parenthood, literary criticism, art, and, of course, love. Admired in the musical world for his great talent, the progressive Harburg was at one time blacklisted.
Rhymes for the Irreverent offers a major selection of Yip's whimsical rhymes in one place. The 240-page hardback, lavishly illustrated by Seymour Chwast, contains material from Harburg's two books of rhyme (Rhymes for the Irreverent, 1965, and At This Point in Rhyme, 1976) plus several previously unpublished poems. (See reviews.)
Ernie Harburg, Yip's son, notes that his father is widely known as a great lyricist of classics: "But far fewer know Yip as a light verse poet. These poems represent Yip's free spirit. He had a deep, tenacious commitment to social justice."
Harburg's rhymes continue to "enlighten the world not just through ideas, but through art, wit and style," said Dan Barker, co-president of the Foundation.
Smile-inducing and thought-provoking, Rhymes for the Irreverent provides a welcome antidote to today's war-torn and superstition-ridden world:
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Life Is Liveable
Purchase Rhymes for the Irreverent from FFRF, PO Box 750, Madison WI 53701, www.ffrf.org/shop, for $20 ($15 for FFRF members) postpaid. (Contact Dan Barker for more information. Please notify FFRF of any reviews.)"