Dead Poets Remembrance Day
This Thursday, October 7th, poetry-lovers across the country will gather for the first annual Dead Poets Remembrance Day, a unique opportunity to meet at the graves of American poets and read their verse aloud. Walter Skold, founder of the Dead Poets Society of America, developed the idea for the holiday after taking a 15,000 mile road trip in 2009 and 2010, during which Skold met with thirteen state poet laureates and documented the graves of over 600 national poets. (His trusty van, the Poemobile, will be back in action for this week’s festivities.)
Although the official celebration day is Thursday, October 7th, (the day that Edgar Allan Poe died), celebrations will be going on all week long from Maine to California. Choose from one of the marvelous events listed after the jump (including all-day celebrations in Maine and Massachusetts) or use the maps provided at the bottom of the Dead Poets website to find a poetic tombstone near you. Bring a book and some friends, wander off by yourself in the mystical moist night-air, read some poems and from time to time, look up in perfect silence at the stars. You may just feel like Walt Whitman is right there beside you.
The Great Boston Poetry Marathon
Monday, October 11th, sunrise to sunset
Caravan through Massachusetts with “bikerpoet” K. Peddlar Bridges, and the filmmakers from Dedgar The Poemobile, to celebrate a dream team of 48 New England poets including T. S.
Eliot, E. E. Cummings, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathanial Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau and more. Hear lines from the first African-American poetess, Phillis Wheatley, and sing “Jingle Bells” at the grave of John Pierpont Sr. in beautiful Mt. Auburn Cemetery, the permanent residence of 21 different American bards. With stops at two beaches and four cemeteries, festivities will conclude just past Walden Pond on Author’s Ridge in Concord’s Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
Remembering Maine’s Island Poets
Thursday, October 7th, sunrise to sunset
Begin the day at sunrise with the uplifting verse of Edna St. Vincent Millay, spoken from the Giant’s Steps on Bailey Island. Then make your way past Cundy’s Harbor, seaside cemeteries and a train-track serenade to finish the day at sunset on the top of Mt. Desert Island’s Cadillac Mountain. Thirty-six Maine poets will be honored, focusing on their Down East themes of shipbuilding, islands, lighthouses, whaling and sailing. You can even sign up here to be a reader.
Remembering the Poets of the Granite State
Sunday, October 10th, 3 – 4:30 p.m.
Considered one of the “best-kept literary sites in the country,” the historic 30-acre Robert Frost Farm will be the center for Dead Poet happenings in New Hampshire. Brush elbows with today’s best-known Granite State poets in the 19th century clapboard barn as they resurrect the verse of Robert Frost, Jane Kenyon, Ogden Nash. Afterward take a walk down one of the property’s trails and imagine life on the farm that most inspired one of America’s most beloved poets.
Saturday, October 10th, 10 a.m.
Gather with Alabama state poet laureate, Sue Walker, to honor the plentiful works of poet Eugene Walter, “Mobile’s Renaissance Man,” at his grave in Mobile’s historic Church Street Graveyard. Born and raised in the gulfport of Mobile, Walker went on to work in Alaska as an Army cryptographer, help launch and write for the Paris Review, act in more than 20 feature films, and travel widely across Europe, all the while toting a shoebox of Alabama red clay – at least that’s what he’d have you believe.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Wednesday, October 6th, 6 – 8 p.m.
The Equinox Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado promises a spirited evening brimming with local craft brews, art, poetry readings and a chance to meet Dan Beachy-Quick, Francisco Leal and two-time Colorado state poet laureate Mary Crow.
Free and open to the public, the event will kick off with the Coloradan poetry of luminaries Mina Loy and Thomas Hornsby Ferrill, then carry on in praise of a variety of multicultural and translated verse.
Organized events will also take place in Wisconsin, California, Kansas
and Indiana. For updated information please check the Dead Poets Remembrance Day website, here.
Photos: Above, Dead Poets Society founder Walter Skold reading Longfellow at Eastern Cemetery. Gregory Rec/ AP. Below: courtesy Walter Skold