There are few artists with as diverse of a collection of works as Chicago’s Shel Silverstein. From childrens’ books, to poetry, to songwriting, to stage productions, to illustrations for Playboy comics in the magazine’s hayday, the perpetually bearded Silverstein left behind a prolific resume at the time of his death in 1999.
Born and raised in Chicago, Silverstein was expelled from Roosevelt HS in the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood before attending the Chicago Academy for Fine Arts, Roosevelt University, which preceded a drafted stint in the military.
Aside from his work in print, Silverstein’s most famous song writing credit is for the Johnny Cash classic, “A Boy Named Sue”. But it’s his work for children that endures the most, with his poetry collections A Light In The Attic, Falling Up, and Where The Sidewalk Ends (my personal favorite piece being “The Meewho and The Exactlywatt”), as well as the gut-wrenching The Giving Tree. During all of this, Silverstein’s beard was a large presence in his life, so much so that he wrote a poem about it.