Eve Merriam, 75, an award-winning poet, playwright and...

Deaths elsewhere

April 13, 1992

Eve Merriam, 75, an award-winning poet, playwright and author of more than 50 books for adults and children, died of cancer Saturday at a New York City hospital. Ms. Merriam's work ranged from light-hearted verse, to an Obie-winning musical about sexism, to a theater piece on pioneer women presented at the White House, to poems on inner-city poverty that spurred calls to ban the book from schools and libraries. Two of her books will be published this fall. Her work, honored by the National Council of Teachers of English, included "It Doesn't Always Have to Rhyme" (Atheneum, 1964), "Blackberry Ink" (Morrow, 1985) and "Halloween ABC" (Macmillan, 1986). Her musical, "The Club," was staged by Tom O'Horgan in 1976. It portrayed men in a private club making derogatory remarks about women -- with the men played by actresses. "Out of Our Fathers' House," her portrayal of prominent American women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was presented at the White House in 1978 and shown on public television's "Great Performances" series. Her book of urban poems, "The Inner City Mother Goose" (Simon & Schuster, 1969), drew attacks from a judge, police officials and others who said it glamorized crime and denigrated people with lines like "Run, run father, go away;/ Welfare worker is due today." She defended the book as misunderstood; others praised its realism. Born in Philadelphia with the given name Eva Moskovitz, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1937. Under the pen name of Eve Merriam, she held a variety of jobs in the 1940s, including that of an advertising writer, a CBS radio script writer, and a poetry program host on WQXR.

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