Sorry, I couldn't find info on Nash's influences but you may find this article helpful.
Ogden Nash - (1902-1971)
By M. Wright
"He worked at a desk in the living room. When things were going well, when thoughts were flowing freely, he would hum. Like the whistle of a teakettle, it was a physical sign of mental productivity: The words were bubbling and ready to be served. When he hummed—which he did quite unconsciously—I knew the writing was going well." The sound of her grandfather's humming is just one of many fond memories belonging to Linell Smith. On lined, yellow legal pads, with little notes of word relationships scattered around the house, and using the world around him as a source of inspiration, Ogden Nash wrote the humorous poetry that made him famous.
I. Personal and Professional Biography
Ogden Nash was born on August 19, 1902, in Rye, New York. Because of his father's import-export business, moving around was a common occurrence. As a result, he was raised in Savannah, Georgia, and other East Coast cities. Nash was blessed to have been born into a family that valued education for all members, including his two sisters. The fact that learning was stressed so strongly had a huge impact on Nash's love of language and writing. By the age of ten, he was already demonstrating his strong ability to use language by writing poetry for family, friends, and local newspapers.
He completed his secondary education at St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island, and then went on to enroll at Harvard. Unfortunately, Nash only studied at Harvard for one year because he was forced to leave for financial reasons. Nash was compelled to get his first full-time job at the age of nineteen and he would never again have a chance to go back to college. He first worked as a teacher at his own high school, and from there he jumped from job to job, constantly trying new things and stretching his limits. He worked on the stock market, wrote streetcar advertisements, and then worked for the Doubleday publishing company. Nash's boss, Dan Longwell, became his mentor and encouraged him to submit some of his verse to The New Yorker. When his poem, "Spring Comes to Murray Hill" was purchased and published, Nash's career as a writer truly began. In 1932, he left Doubleday, joined the New Yorker staff, and from there he eventually quit to become a full-time writer.
In 1931, Nash married Frances Leonard, had two girls, and ended up moving to Baltimore, Maryland. Nash cared a lot about supporting his family and making sure that they were raised in an environment that stressed the importance of education, perhaps because of the financial problems that prevented him from finishing school when he was young. He regularly lectured about his verse to provide a steady source of income, and he never became arrogant about who published his poetry. He sold his verse to almost every magazine, including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, The New Yorker, Ladies' Home Journal, Hallmark, and even Playboy. Nash lived in Baltimore and continued to write, publish, and lecture until his death on May 19, 1971.
Nash wrote on almost every topic imaginable, but mostly he wrote about the world around him. He was able to take something very ordinary and place it in a new perspective, presenting a small piece of personal wisdom in everything he wrote. On top of that, he wrote entirely in fascinating rhymes and word combinations that blatantly displayed his sense of humor. Critic Lisle Bell of New York Herald Tribune said, "…what Ogden Nash does is take words apart to see what makes them tick, and put them together so that they click. And not necessarily in the condition in which he found them." One must have a true understanding of words and an original imagination in order to combine silly humor and rhyme with wit and wisdom. Critic Russell Maloney of the New York Times once said, "Nash is one of the rare people who can make a pun and make you like it. He can write sentimental rhymes about his children and make you like those, too. In short, he can do almost anything in the poet line, and he has been doing it for fifteen years."
Nash was blessed with the gift of words. He never simply used words, he put them together in a way that expressed ideas in a form that no one else has been able to. His granddaughter, Linell Smith, said, "Not only are his poems funny, but some of them, especially the longer ones, poignantly address the fragility of life and the passage of time." People enjoy reading Nash's work because they can relate to what he says. They are able to laugh and to learn at the same time, picking out fascinating new insights within the humor on topics that most never really thought about.
Nash wrote many famous verses such as "Candy is Dandy, but Liquor is Quicker." These lines have become well known because his poetry was often used in articles of magazines and newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post . His expression of single-line wit was often used as further description of the subject of many articles. Nash wrote on so many different topics that a great number of articles over the years have made distinct references to his verse.
Nash was truly a profound person in the fact that he continued to teach and to influence people of all ages right up to his death in 1971. William Rose Benet in the Sunday Review of Literature once said, "There he sits, the antic old philosopher, and puts down most anything that comes into his head, most of which is extremely funny and about as good a picture of his life and times as others have spent volumes on."
II. Literary Works
The Cricket of Carador (1925)
Hard Lines (1931)
The Bad Parent's Garden of Verse (1936)
I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1938)
The Face Is Familiar: The Selected Verses of Ogden Nash (1940)
Good Intentions (1942)
One Touch of Venus (1943)
Many Long Years Ago (1945)
Selected Verse (1946)
Parents Keep Out: Elderly Poems for Young Readers (1951)
Two's Company (1952)
The Private Dining Room (1953)
You Can't Get There From Here (1957)
The Christmas That Almost Wasn't (1957)
Custard, the Dragon (1959)
Everyone but Thee and Me (1962)
Marriage Lines: Notes of a Student Husband (1963)
The Untold Adventures of Santa Clause (1964)
There's Always Another Windmill (1968)
Bed Riddance (1970)
The Old Dog Barks Backwards (1972)
"Ogden Nash (1902-1971) Teacher Resource File"
This is a teacher resource site that focuses entirely on Nash. Although it does not provide information on Nash directly, it lists web links that lead to biographies, literary criticism, and sources for Nash's poetry.
"A Tribute to the Poet, Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)." 4 April. 2001.
Bell, Lisle. "Ogden Nash." Contemporary Literary Criticism. 1931. 316 – 323.
Benet, William Rose. "Ogden Nash." Contemporary Literary Criticism. 1931. 316 – 323.
"Candy is Dandy, but Liquor Is Quicker: Ogden Nash Online." 28 March 2001.
"Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center: Ogden Nash, Biographical Sketch." 28
March 2001. Research Center, University of Texas.
"Humor." Online Dictionary. 4 April. 2001.
"I Don't Mind Eels, Except as Meals: Ogden Nash." 28 March 2001.
Maloney, Russell. "Ogden Nash." Contemporary Literary Criticism. 1945. 316 – 323.
"Nash, Ogden." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 28 March 2001.
Nash, Ogden. "Up from the Egg: Confessions of a Nuthatch Avoider." 1996. Cataract. Tomm Lorenzin. 1995.
"Ogden Nash (1902-1971) Teacher Resource File." 3 May 2001.
Smith, Frances R. "Ogden Nash." MDSOS Kid's Page. 29 November 1999.
Smith, Linell. Personal interview. April 25, 2001.
This essay was submitted by a student of Susan Davis, a teacher at St. Timothy's School in Stevenson, Maryland.