Ogden Nash

'Poems: 1959-2009' by Frederick Seidel

Poems 1959-2009 Frederick Seidel Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 510 pp., $40 In September 1968, a wide-ranging New York Times lifestyle piece headlined "Central Park's New Era: Fun for Everyone" took the measure of several New Yorkers, including a college student from the Bronx, two girls riding a tandem bicycle, a fashion executive and the poet Frederick Seidel. While in the zoo, looking at the seals, Seidel says, "I once wrote a poem about a girl I was in love with. I compared her to a seal. . . . It was a poetic problem," he explains, "to connect the two -- the girl and the seal -- because it's really almost preposterous." This is perhaps the least...