Thursday, December 09, 2010



These days Dorothy Parker is remembered most for her witty and cynical poetry. She was not particularly proud of the poems, but they have survived in public memory long after her short stories and other writing has been forgotten. Some of her screenplays have survived. The screenplay of A Star is Born was her work, and nominated for an academy award. Three different versions of the story have been made, and have entertained three different generations. It's a bittersweet tale, the kind she knew well from experience.

Dorothy's poems are mainly reflections of her own disappointments and frustrations. She had a sad childhood, losing both parents at an early age. This shadow followed her throughout her life. Her lovers and spouses only seemed to add to her distress. Dorothy attempted suicide 3 times, eventually took to alcohol, and died alone in a New York hotel, aged 73. The New York Times printed one of its longest ever obituaries as a tribute. She left her estate to Martin Luther King Jnr, though she had never met him, and he had never heard of her! She supported many left-wing causes, civil rights campaigns and at one point joined the communist party, and found herself on the US government's blacklist.

DOROTHY PARKER Born 22 August 1893, West End, New Jersey, at 9.50 PM.

According to a couple of sources on-line Ms Parker's birth time was 9:50 PM, putting the ascendant angle in Taurus. It's said that the ascendant can give clues as to personal appearance. In this case it doesn't. Dorothy Parker is described as fragile looking, doll-like, almost elfin, quite the opposite of the sturdiness of Taurus. From what I've read about her personality, Taurus seems to have been well-eclipsed by Virgo and Gemini.

The Sun had just passed into Virgo, at 00 degree when Dorothy Parker was born. There are 2 other planets at 00 degree: Venus at 00 Libra, and Jupiter at 00 Gemini. Some astrologers consider that the first and last degrees of a sign carry more of the "pure essence" of it, which could be of some significance here, especially in the case of Virgo and Gemini. Dorothy's legendary sharp tongue, naturally critical and acidic attitudes are typically Virgoan. The two signs, Virgo and Gemini, both ruled by Mercury, provide her writer's "signature". It was as though the Sun and Jupiter had struggled to get into their proper places just in time for the birth - or she had waited to emerge until they were properly placed!

Sun is conjunct Mars - novelist Sinclair Lewis had Sun conjunct Mars too (he who said "When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross"): two writers of the same generation who were not averse to expressing controversial views. Writers with a fighting (Mars) spirit! Sun in Virgo, Mercury in Leo are in mutual reception in Dorothy's chart too (each lay in the sign of the other's rulership), which adds even more emphasis to the astrological picture, showing a born writer.

Moon in Capricorn and Sun/Mars in Virgo, both in Earth signs forming a wide harmonious trine. This I find somewhat surprising. She doesn't seem to have been the solid, stable Earthy personality it indicates. However, Moon is in challenging square aspect to Saturn in Airy Libra, and Sun is square to Jupiter in Airy Gemini. Two Airy challenges stirring up dust! Without these square aspects people might never have remembered the name and personality of Dorothy Parker.

A trio of poems from the many she wrote:

Star Light, Star Bright

Star, that gives a gracious dole,
What am I to choose?
Oh, will it be a shriven soul,
Or little buckled shoes?

Shall I wish a wedding-ring,
Bright and thin and round,
Or plead you send me covering-
A newly spaded mound?

Gentle beam, shall I implore
Gold, or sailing-ships,
Or beg I hate forevermore
A pair of lying lips?

Swing you low or high away,
Burn you hot or dim;
My only wish I dare not say-
Lest you should grant me him.


They hail you as their morning star
Because you are the way you are.
If you return the sentiment,
They'll try to make you different;
And once they have you, safe and sound,
They want to change you all around.
Your moods and ways they put a curse on;
They'd make of you another person.
They cannot let you go your gait;
They influence and educate.
They'd alter all that they admired.
They make me sick, they make me tired.


There's little in taking or giving,
There's little in water or wine;
This living, this living, this living
Was never a project of mine.
Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop,
And work is the province of cattle,
And rest's for a clam in a shell,
So I'm thinking of throwing the battle ---
Would you kindly direct me to hell?

Her self-chosen epitaph: "Excuse my dust."


Wisewebwoman said...

Her wit and wisdom live on. Brilliant woman born before her time.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ She was. she'd fit right in these days would she not?