"I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree" is the first line of Joyce Kilmer's most famous poem, "Trees". It is read at arbor day celebrations; it has been set to music several times; and it is taught in elementary schools around the country. It is loved, but also mocked as a simplistic poem, lacking in substance. Each year at Columbia University, there is a Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest.
Kilmer was born in 1886, and lived most of his short life in New Jersey. He was killed in 1918 in France, in the second battle of the Marne. Before he enlisted in the army, he was on staff at the New York Times, and as a Catholic convert, wrote religious inspired poetry. He wrote Trees in 1913. This piece explores 'Trees' through readings, song and interviews with Kilmer's grandson and others.