David Ossman, one of the four creators of The Firesign Theatre, three-time Grammy nominees, known as "The Beatles of Comedy," has been publishing poetry in books, anthologies and magazines since his teen years.
Most of the poems in Marshmallows & Despair were first heard on NPR's All Things Considered, the Firesign's gold-medal-winning XM Satellite program, Fools In Space, and the web's Radio Free Oz.
An internationally-celebrated radio writer-director, best known for The War of the Worlds 50th Anniversary Production, Ossman has also produced major programs with John Cage, Ray Bradbury and Norman Corwin. As "George Tirebiter," he ran a national comedy campaign for U.S. Vice-President in 1976, is the voice of "Cornelius" in Pixar's A Bug's Life, and has adapted Agatha Christie's BBC Murders, Jean Cocteau's Orpheus and an e. e. cummings cabaret for stage.
Ossman was born Dec. 6, 1936 in Santa Monica, California, graduated from Columbia University, and has lived on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and partner, Judith Walcutt, for thirty years. They have two sons, Orson, a filmmaker, and Preston, a musician. He is currently finishing a second memoir, Fighting Clowns.
"Reading David Ossman is like finding yourself caught up in a whirlwind of whimsy and dark augury. Imagine you're trying to run through a dust devil, arms flailing and hair flying and Ossman's poems are like looking up through the funnel and seeing the sun. David Ossman is an acute observer who makes flesh the Walpole dictum: "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.""
Bart Baxter Poet, Pilot, World Traveller & Master of Ceremonies
"We all knew there was a poetry in the madness of Firesign Theater, but there's also an inspired madness in the poetry of Firesign's David Ossman. Marshmallows & Despair reveals the heart that has always been at the center of Ossman's work, changing the way one thinks about his comedy, and all comedy for that matter. With a light touch and delirious passion, Ossman takes us on a journey that is both personal and universal. Transcendent."
Douglas Rushkoff author of Present Shock
"A compelling diary of the first years of the century, these genial and biting poems remind us of the uniquely literary dimension of Ossman's old group, Firesign Theatre, and can be read alongside the broadcasts and albums of their great late period."
Jeremy Braddock Cornell University, Modernist Studies Book Prize winner.
"Funny, deeply layered, and subversive."
John Goodman Unforgettable film, television, stage, and voice actor.