James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) was an American writer and poet, known as the "Hoosier Poet" and the "Children's Poet". He started his career in 1875 writing newspaper verse in Indiana dialect for the Indianapolis Journal. His verse tended to be humorous or sentimental, and of the approximately one-thousand poems that Riley published, over half are in dialect. Claiming that "simple sentiments that come from the heart" were the secret of his success. He satisfied the public with down-to-earth verse that was "heart high. " Although he was a bestselling author in the early 1900s and earned a steady income from royalties, he also travelled and gave public readings of his poetry. His favourite authors were Robert Burns and Charles Dickens, and he himself befriended bestselling Indiana authors such as Booth Tarkington, George Ade and Meredith Nicholson. Many of his works were illustrated by the popular illustrator Howard Chandler Christy. His works include: Afterwhiles (1887), Rhymes of Childhood (1890), The Flying Islands of The Night (1892), A Child- World (1897) and Riley Love-Lyrics (1899).
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About the Author
In about 1880, Riley was diagnosed with Bell's palsy. Although he recovered to continue writing, he was stricken with it again in March, 1909. He recovered enough to be able to walk, but had to dictate his final poems and short autobiographical sketches.
On July 22, 1916, Riley suffered a second stroke. He recovered enough during the day to speak and joke with his companions, but died before dawn the next morning, July 23. Source: Wikipedia.