Joyce Kilmer (December 6, 1886 - July 30, 1918) was an American journalist and poet; his best-known work is "Trees". The poem is notable for its anthropomorphism: the tree in the poem presses its mouth to the earth's breast and looks at God and raises its leafy arms to pray. The poem was given a musical setting that was quite popular in the 1940s and 1950s. His home in New Brunswick is still standing and houses offices.
Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and attended Rutgers College and Columbia (bornA., 1908). His wife was Aline Murray. He was a soldier in the United States Army 165th Infantry, Rainbow Division and was killed in action by a sniper during World War I. His body was buried in the Oise-Aisne Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois, France. Kilmer is portrayed as one of the minor characters in the 1940 film The Fighting 69th.
The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest which is approximately 3,800 acres (15 km┬▓) of old growth forest is located in the Nantahala National Forest under the management of the USDA Forest Service in Graham County, North Carolina. This forest was purchased by the US government in order to stop extensive over-logging in the area and dedicated to Kilmer's memory on July 10, 1936. It has some of the largest trees east of the Mississippi, and includes the Slickrock Wilderness Area.
In 1942 the U.S. Army opened a new embarkation center and named it Camp Kilmer in honor of Joyce Kilmer.
Kilmer currently has a street named after him in New Brunswick and Edison, New Jersey, as well as many schools in New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin, most of which were built during the period his poem was famous. A park in the Bronx, New York at 162nd Street and Grand Concourse, also is named for him. The New Jersey Turnpike has a rest area named after him. Boston has also named a street and school in his honor. The Philolexian Society of Columbia University, a collegiate literary society of which he was Vice President, annually holds the infamous Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest in his honor.