Dennis Lee was born on August 31, 1939, in Toronto, Ontario. His collection Civil Elegies and Other Poems was awarded the 1972 Governor General's Award, one of Canada's highest literary honors, but Lee continues to be best known for his collections of cleverly-rhymed children's verse. Wiggle to the Laundromat (1970) was written for his daughters, and like much of his writing, drew upon his experiences as a parent. His other books of poems for children include Alligator Pie (1974), one of the best-selling Canadian children's books of all time; Nicholas Knock and Other People (1974); Garbage Delight (1977); and Jelly Belly (1983). In much of his work, he uses Canadian place-names, local cultural idiosyncrasies, and environmental issues to try to communicate a sense of national identity, but his poems have proven popular among English-speaking audiences all over the world.
What Will You Be?
They never stop asking me "What will you be?-- A doctor, a dancer, A diver at sea?" They never stop bugging me: "What will you be?" As if they expect me to Stop being me. When I grow up I'm going to be a Sneeze, And sprinkle Germs on all my Enemies. When I grow up I'm going to be a Toad, And dump on Silly Questions in the road. When I grow up, I'm going to be a Child. I'll Play the whole darn day and drive them Wild.
From Garbage Delight, published by Macmillan Canada, 1977. Used with permission.