Joyce Kilmer published his poem "Trees" in August 1913 in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, and reprinted it in his first book, "Trees and Other Poems," in 1914. Kilmer's view of the trees at his Mahwah, New Jersey home inspired him to write the 12-line poem on February 2, 1913.
When Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in December 1886, his parents named him Alfred Joyce Kilmer, but he stopped using Alfred after moving to New York City, around 1909. Kilmer started publishing his work in the Literary Digest, The New York Times, The Nation, and Town & Country, using his shortened name. Kilmer died in France in 1918 at age 31, during a World War I battle.