Queenie was a blonde, and her age stood still,
And she danced twice a day in vaudeville.
Lips like coals aglow.
Her face was a tinted mask of snow.
-- Joseph Moncure March, The Wild Party
1899-1977 American poet, journalist and screenwriter best known for his syncopated verse book-length poem The Wild Party.
The first managing editor of The New Yorker, March quit his job to write The Wild Party in 1926, but couldn't get the provocative poem published for another two years. It presented a sophisticated and cynical view of sexuality and included references to homosexuality, lesbianism, pedophilia, incest, and other miscellaneous sexual and racial material. Published in 1928 in only 750 copies, it was by turns ignored and vilified by the establishment, literary and otherwise, and after being banned in Boston soon became a cult item, with copies being passed from hand to hand.
His next book-length poem, the boxing-themed The Set-Up proved to be more popular and became a New York Times bestseller. It being the early 1930s, Hollywood called and March answered, working mostly for Paramount Studios throughout the 1930s and writing a few Westerns for B-movie studio Republic Pictures. He left the movie business in the early 1940s to focus on journalism, which he did for the rest of his life. In the late 1960s he penned his memoir, A Certain Wildness, which was published together with self-censored versions of The Wild Party and The Set-Up. By that time both were ironically considered less risque, but also too politically incorrect.
The Set-Up was made into a popular film noir in 1949 starring Robert Ryan as the (originally black) boxer and directed by Robert Wise. According to the IMDb March volunteered to adapt the poem for the movie version, but was turned down. The Wild Party was adapted into a 1975 flop Merchat and Ivory movie starring Raquel Welch. The book was mostly forgotten, before being rediscovered in the mid-1990s by Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus, and reissued to much aclaim with illustrations by Spiegelman. As of this writing, the Spiegelman version of the book is still in print in paperback. In the late 1990s The Wild Party was adapted into two separate stage musicals.