syndicated poet; columnist, Detroit Free Press
Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959) was born in Birmingham, England, and brought to the U.S. by his father in 1891. He began as an office boy for the Detroit Free Press in 1895 – the start of an affiliation that would span almost 65 years. In 1898, a temporary assignment on the exchange desk, where filler verse and feature items were clipped for reprinting, led Guest to submit a few poems of his poems of his own to the Sunday editor. Soon he had a weekly column of verse and observations called “Blue Monday Chat,” followed by a daily column, “Breakfast Table Chat.” By 1908, “The Poet of the People” was working almost exclusively in meter and rhyme. Guest’s popularity spread like wildfire among Free Press readers who asked for collections of his folksy verses. He authored 20 such books and for more than 30 years there wasn’t a Free Press that didn’t carry his verse. His work eventually was syndicated in more than 100 newspapers. The recipient of the Free Press’ Golden Keystone and Silver Keystone awards, Guest was also honored by a Detroit school and a Boys Club of Detroit building, which carry his name. As a civic leader, he received numerous awards, including honorary degrees from Wayne State University in 1936 and Michigan.