About Yip Harburg

Yip Harburg, known as “Broadway’s social conscience” was a master lyricist, poet and book writer dedicated to social justice.  His most well known songs include “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and “Over The Rainbow.” Yip also wrote the lyrics to the rest of The Wizard of Oz and edited the final screenplay. The film will celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2019.

Yip’s Broadway classic is the witty socially conscious Finian’s Rainbow, (1947 music by Burton Lane; co-book by Fred Saidy.)

Yip was a “fellow who followed a dream.” He believed that all people should be guaranteed basic human rights, political equality, free education and economic opportunity – beliefs he personified through his actions and songs.

Readings from
“Rhymes for the Irreverent”
by Yip Harburg

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree;
Yet only God who makes the tree
Also makes the fools like me.
But only fools like me, you see,
Can make a God, who makes a tree.

Read by Yip:


“Inscription on a Lipstick”

Oh, innocent victims of Cupid,
Remember this terse little verse;
To let a fool kiss you is stupid,
To let a kiss fool you is worse.

“Inscription on a Lipstick”
audio clip Read by Sherry Boone (actor/singer):

For more on Yip Harburg, visit: http://yipharburg.com