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Judith Viorst

(February 2, 1931)

Biography of Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst poet

an American author, newspaper journalist, and psychoanalysis researcher. She is perhaps best known for her children's literature, such as The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (about the death of a pet) and the Alexander series of short picture books.

Viorst is a 1952 graduate of the Newark College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. In 1968, Viorst signed the “Writers and Editors War Tax Protest” pledge, vowing to refuse tax payments in protest against the Vietnam War. In the latter part of the 1970s, after two decades of writing for children and adults, she turned to the study of Freudian psychology. In 1981, and after six years of study at Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, she became a research graduate there.

Personal Life

Viorst lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, political writer Milton Viorst. They have three grown sons: Anthony Jacob Viorst, an attorney practicing in the Denver, Colorado area; Nicholas Nathan "Nick" Viorst, an Assistant District Attorney for New York County, and Alexander Noah Viorst.

She received the Foremother Award for lifetime achievements from the National Research Center for Women & Families in 2011.

Writing

Writing for Children

Among Viorst's books for children is the "Alexander" series (including Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), whose narrator is a 5-year-old boy who lives with his parents and two brothers, Anthony and Nick named for Viorst's own three sons.

Viorst's book 'Sad Underwear' is a collection of poems that examines a wide variety of feelings and experiences from a child's point of view.

Writing for Adults

Viorst's books for adults include nonfiction psychology books such as "Grown-up Marriage", Imperfect Control, Necessary Losses, and People and other Aggravations. Viorst is also a newspaper columnist and has written frequently for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and has been a contributing editor to Redbook magazine.

She also penned the musical Love & Shrimp with Shelly Markam. The Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati hosted a performance of Love & Shrimp, starring Deb Girdler, Pamela Myers and Shelley Bamberger, in the spring of 1999.

Judith Viorst's Works:

Children's Literature and Poetry

I'll Fix Anthony, illustrated by Arnold Lobel (1969) New York: Harper & Row.
Try It Again, Sam: Safety When You Walk, illustrated by Paul Galdone (1970)
My Mama Says there Aren't any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins, or Things, illustrated by Kay Chorao (1973)
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, illustrated by Erik Blegvad (1987)
The Good-bye Book, illustrated by Kay Chorao (1988)
Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (2001)
Lulu and the Brontosaurus, illustrated by Lane Smith (2010) New York: Atheneum.

Poems for Children and Their Parents Series

If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents, illustrated by Lynne Cherry (1984)
Sad Underwear and Other Complications: More Poems for Children and Their Parents, illustrated by Richard Hull (1995)

Alexander Series

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day illustrated by Ray Cruz (1972). New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-70428-3
Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday illustrated by Ray Cruz (1977). New York: Atheneum.
Alexander, Who Is Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser "in the style of Ray Cruz" (1995) New York: Atheneum.

Alexander Related Titles

Absolutely, Positively Alexander: The Complete Stories, collects the three books in the series in one volume
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: A Musical
Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days: An Almost Completely Honest Account of What Happened to Our Family When Our Youngest came to Live with Us for Three Months, (an adult memoir of Judith Viorst and her real son, Alexander) (2007)

Adult Literature, Memoirs, Advice Books, and Poetry

People and Other Aggravations (1971)
Yes, Married: A Saga of Love and Complaint (1972)
A Visit from St. Nicholas to a Liberated Household illustrated by Norman Green (1977)
Love and Guilt and the Meaning of Life, Etc. illustrated by John Alcorn (1979)
Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow (1987)
Murdering Mr. Monti: A Merry Little Tale of Sex and Violence (1994)
Imperfect Control: Our Lifelong Struggles With Power and Surrender (1998)
You're Officially a Grown-up: The Graduate's Guide to Freedom, Responsibility, Happiness, and Personal Hygiene (1999)
Grown-Up Marriage: What We Know, Wish We Had Known, and Still Need to Know About Being Married (2003)

The Age-related Poetry Series

It's Hard to Be Hip Over 30 & Other Tragedies of Married Life (1968) (Reprinted in 1999 by Persephone Books)
How Did I Get to Be 40 & Other Atrocities illustrated by John Alcorn (1976)
When Did I Stop Being 20 & Other Injustices: Selected Poems from Single to Mid-Life, illustrated by John Alcorn (1987)
Forever 50 & Other Negotiations, illustrated by John Alcorn (1989)
Suddenly 60 & Other Shocks of Later Life, illustrated by Laurie Rosewald (2000)
I'm Too Young to Be 70 & Other Delusions, illustrated by Laura Gibson (2005)

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The Honeymoon Is Over

The honeymoon is over
And he has left for work
Whistling something obvious from La Boheme
And carrying a brown calfskin attache case
I never dreamed he was capable of owning,
Having started the day
With ten pushups and a cold shower
Followed by hearty breakfast.

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