Definitions

narrative poem

The Wild Party (poem)

The Wild Party is a narrative poem. Written in the classical epic style, it is Joseph Moncure March's first published work.

Upon its 1928 publication, the poem was widely banned, first in Boston, for having content viewed as wild as the titular party. Despite and perhaps in part due to the controversy surrounding the work, it was a success, although March's subsequent projects, viewed when published as at least slightly less controversial, were more mainstream.

March's literary influence is great, even with this somewhat lesser-known work. When asked once about March's The Wild Party, the acclaimed writer William Burroughs replied, "It's the book that made me want to be a writer."

Show people Queenie and her lover Burrs, who live in a manner considered edgy and decadent at the time, decide to have one of their parties, complete with illegal bathtub gin and the couple's colorful, eccentric and egocentric friends, but the party does not unfold without more tumultuous goings-on than planned. Each of the primary characters is vibrant and established.

A new paperback edition was released in 1994 with the subtitle The Lost Classic. It featured about fifty black-and-white illustrations by Art Spiegelman, a long-time admirer of the poem.

The Wild Party was adapted into a poorly-received film version, in 1975, and two stage musicals, both produced in the same 1999-2000 theater season, one on Broadway and the other off-Broadway.

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