At midnight Sunday, on the day that Edgar Allan Poe died, there will be a cognac and roses-laden reading of "The Raven" at Poe Corner, in the city of his birth
"Now that the Poetoaster has stopped his annual nocturnal visits to Poe's grave on October 7th, and the City of Baltimore has cut funding for the Poe House there," said Walter Skold, "We're hoping to start a new tradition of honorning Poe here in Boston."
The midnight event will take place rain or moonshine and it is part of the third annual Dead Poets Remembrance Day in Massachusetts, a two-day roster of 8 readings of 40 poets at 20 different graves in the Boston-area.
Besides "The Raven," which will be read by Cambridge storyteller, Owen Grey, the public will have a chance to read some of Poe's Boston-published poetry.
Poe Corner, at the corner of Boylston and Charles Street, currently has a city electric power box with a portrait of Poe on it. This is also the is the future site of the sculpture that is being placed there by Poe Foundation of Boston.
Other highlights of the two-day literary festival will include a tribute to the poetry of John Updike, in Ipswich, a celebration of Merrimack River poets, Robert Frost and Edna St. Vincent Millay, and readings at the graves of Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, and the infamous Puritan poet-preacher, Michael Wigglesworth.
A full schedule of all locations and readings can be found at the event blog:
Dead Poets Remembrance Day is a new literary holiday that was started by Maine poet and film-maker Walter Skold and 13 State Poets Laureate 3 years ago, after Skold conducted a 3-month tour of 150 poets' graves.
"The holiday hasn't gone viral yet nationally," says Skold, "But here in New England more people have taken part in the celebrations each year and really seem to enjoy it."
"The more I attend those gatherings, the more apt and satisfying I find them," said Rhina Espaillat, a nationally-known "Powow Poet" from Newburyport. "After all, isn't poetry the art entrusted with preserving our collective memory as a species, of exploring the memories of the dead and sending out ours into the future?"
"Members of the community are welcome to come and read their favorite poem from these or other authors," said Skold. "The only stipulation is that that the poet who wrote it is dead, as this is the day to honor them."
The current partners for the events are: The Woodberry Poetry Room, The Worcester County Poetry Association, The Powow River Poets, Anne Bradstreet 400, The Stanley Kunitz Society, and Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
2. AP article this week
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The founder of the Dead Poets Society of America is halfway to his goal of visiting the gravesites of 500 bards.
Walter Skold on Thursday is visiting the gravesite of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's brother Samuel at Portland's Western Cemetery. Skold says Samuel Longfellow was a hymn writer, pastor and poet.
It'll be his 251st burial plot visit, marking the kickoff of events leading to Dead Poets Remembrance Day on Oct. 7.
Skold, who's from Freeport, Maine, pushed for a national holiday after he discovered that the graves of many of the nation's literary forebears have been neglected.
Highlights this year will include a tribute to the poetry of John Updike and a special midnight reading of "The Raven" at Poe Corner in Boston, Edgar Allan Poe's hometown.