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Selected Poetry of Benjamin Franklin King (1857-1894)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

Nothing to do but work,
Nothing to eat but food,
Nothing to wear but clothes
To keep one from going nude.
        (The Pessimist, 1-4)
  1. If I should die
  2. Injun Summah
  3. The Pessimist (The Sum of Life)
  4. Toboggan


Notes on Life and Works

Information on King's life is hard to come by. I rely on the summary by Glenn Blalock. Ben King, born on March 17, 1857 in St. Joseph, Michigan, married Aseneth Belle Latham, of St. Joseph, on November 27, 1883, in Chicago, and had two sons by her. King belonged to the Chicago Press Club and to the Whitechapel Club, which attracted authors and journalist. King published verse in newspapers and journals like The Century, sometimes under the pseudonym Bow Hackley. King died on tour, April 8, 1894, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after a public reading the previous night before, and two days later wasburied in St. Joseph. It was friends from the Press Club who published Ben King's Verse in 1894, a collection reprinted many times, because King's work was popular. (Glenn Blalock, "Ben[jamin] [Franklin] King 1857-1894," Whitman's & Dickinson's Contemporaries: An Anthology of their Verse, ed. Robert Bain [Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996]: 455. PS 607 W455 1996 Robarts Library.)

Biographical information

Given name: Benjamin Franklin
Family name: King
Birth date: 1857
Death date: 1894