Dead Poets Grand Tour 2010
We started on Shakespeare’s birthday, in Portland, Maine, the 23rd of April, and we ended with a bang 6,500 miles later at the first Boston Poetry Marathon, May 25th. During those 34 days, and with the cooperation of 13 current and former State Poets Laureate, we held a Dead Poets Bash in 19 different States and visited 43 cemeteries!
The Grand Tour map can be accessed at the top left corner of the Dead Poets Society of America blog: https://deadpoets.typepad.com/dpsablog/ (A picture of the map is at the end)
In the process of this fantastic journey we made many new friends and met so many remarkable poets and singers, and just plain folk. I’d personally like to thank everyone who helped make this trip such a success, especially those poets laureate who worked hard to organize truly memorable events.
The other readings and interviews we held at poets’ graves and houses were really great as well, including the Lorine Niedecker home, the Carl Sandburg home, the E.L. Masters home, the Sidney Lanier house, The Virginia Military Institute, The Poe Museum, the Longfellow House and the Woodberry Poetry Room, at Harvard.
All totaled we visited the graves of 75 American poets, and heard the amazing poetry of over 100 American poets read. With the help of Hunter Wentworth and Alice McGown, filmmakers from Savannah, we captured it all on film. They were real troopers as this nutty Dead Poet Guy kept up a pace of just over 191.18 miles per day and 2 poets’ graves per day! (Of course, Mt. Auburn cemetery, where we visited 16 poets’ graves in 3 hours, bumps that daily average up to a more impressive-sounding level.)
And we musn’t forget Dedgar The Poemobile. He was most happy to get to visit the 3 graves of Poe – two times, once at Midnight! – the graves of several of Poe’s friends, the Poe Cottage, in the Bronx, the Poe Museum, in Richmond, and the grave of the original “Helen”. Dedgar’s two big disappointments was when his crew left him behind when they went to eat at the Poe Tavern, on Sullivan’s Island, SC., and when the trip to the grave of Helen Whitman, a former fiancé of Poe’s, in Providence, RI., had to be postponed.
This report of the Dead Poets Grand Tour 2010 is just an initial one**. If any readers notice mistakes please let me know. I am in the process of adding hyperlinks to the locations we visited, as well as the title, and name of the reader, of each specific poem that was read.
I’d also like to thank my sons, Charles and Simon, who helped design the website logo and the Grand Tour T-shirt, and my three other children, Racquel, Wesley, and Sam, for their interest and encouragement. And my mother, Mrs. Robert Skold, for her consulting work.
Poeward! Towards the 1st Dead Poets Remembrance Day, October 7th, 2010
Walter Stauffer Skold
“The Dead Poet Guy”
Friday, April 23rd : Day One Maine BASH. Portland.
Betsy Sholl, Maine Poet Laureate
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Saturday, April 24th. New Hampshire BASH. Dumbarton, NH. Stark Family Cemetery.
Walter Butts, N.H. Poet Laureate
Former laureate, Patricia Fargnoli, also helped to promote this project.
Visit to Ft. McHenry. Baltimore, MD.
Visit to Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, MD
Edward Coote Pinkney
Visit to the grave of John Wilkes Booth. Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore.
Visit to 2nd and 3rd graves of Francis Scott Key. Frederick, MD
Frances Scott Key
Visit to Harper’s Ferry
Visit to Antietam National Battlefield and National Cemetery.
Thursday, April 29th. Michigan BASH. Detroit, MI.
Naomi Long Madgett, Detroit Poet Laureate
Visit to the grave of John Trumbull.
Visit to the grave of Robert Hayden. Ann Arbor, MI.
Visit to the grave of Eugene Fields. Kenilworth, IL.
Saturday, May 1st. Wisconsin BASH. Ft. Atkinson, WI.
Marilyn Taylor, Wisconsin Poet Laureate
Sunday, May 2nd Iowa BASH. Iowa City
Mary Swander, Iowa Poet Laureate
Visit to Carl Sandburg Birth & Burial Place. Galesburg, IL.
Visit to Oak Hill Cemetery, Lewiston, IL.
(Many characters from Spoon River Anthology are buried here)
Edgar Lee Masters
Visit to the boyhood home of Edgar Lee Masters
Visit to the grave of Edgar Lee Masters. Petersburg, IL.
Visit to the grave of Ann Rutledge, Petersburg, IL
(Master’s poem about Rutledge is on her memorial marker)
Monday, May 3rd. Illinois BASH. Lincoln Tomb, Springfield.
Visit to the grave of Vachel Lindsay. Oak Ridge cemetery
Tuesday, May 4th. Indiana BASH. Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis
Joyce Brinkman, former Indiana Poet Laureate
James Whitcomb Riley
Visit to Frankfort, KY. Historical Museum
Visit to the grave of Theodore O’Hara. Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, KY.
Visit to the grave of Robert Burns Wilson. Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, KY.
Wednesday, May 5th. Kentucky BASH. Lexington, KY.
Father Abram Ryan
Thursday, May 6th. Tennessee BASH. Murfreesboro, TN
Maggi Vaughn, Tennessee Poet Laureate
Will Allen Dromgoole
Visit to Stones River National Battlefield & Cemetery Murfreesboro, TN.
Visit to the grave of Virgina Boyle, Memphis, TN.
Saturday, May 8th. Alabama BASH. Mobile
Sue Walker, Alabama Poet Laureate
Father Abram Ryan
Mary McNeil Fenollosa,
Visit to the Grave of Francis Orray Ticknor, Columbus GA.
Francis Orray Ticknor, MD.
Visit to Andersonville Prison National Historic Site & National Cemetery
Visit to Sidney Lanier Birthplace. Macon, GA.
Wednesday, May 12th. Georgia BASH. Decatur Cemetery
Thomas Holley Chivers, MD.
John Stone, MD
Thursday, May 13th. Reading at Magnolia Cemetery. Charleston, SC.
Marjory Wentworth, S.C. Poet Laureate
William Gilmore Simms
Beatrice Witte Ravenel
Bennie Lee Sinclair
Helen von Kolintz Hyer
Louisa Cheves Stoney
Louisa McCord Josephine Pinckney
Thursday, May 13th. South Carolina BASH. Charleston, SC. East Bay Meetinghouse
Visit to the grave of Penina Moise. Coming St. Cemetery, Charleston, SC.
Visit to the grave of Conrad Aiken. Savannah, GA.
Visit to the Lanier Oak. Marshes of the Glynn, Brunswick, GA.
Visit to Poe Tavern. Sullivan’s Island, SC.
Visit to Sullivan’s Island. Site of thousands upon thousands of unmarked graves of African slaves whose lives and deaths have never been documented.
Visit to Augusta, GA., to the graves of: James Ryder Randall; Paul Hamilton Hayne;
and Richard Henry Wilde
Visit to the grave of Henry Timrod. Columbia, SC.
Tuesday, May 18th. North Carolina BASH. Fountain General Store, Fountain, NC.
Byron Herbert Reece
A. R. Ammons
George Moses Horton
Blind Boy Fuller
Visit to sites around Chapel Hill, NC. related to the life of George Moses Horton.
George Moses Horton
Visit to grave of Margaret Junkin Preston. Lexington, VA
Margaret Junkin Preston
Visit to grave of Stonewall Jackson. Lexington, VA.
Visit to Virginia Military Institute Museum. Lexington, VA.
Thursday, May 20th. Virginia BASH. Poe Museum, Richmond, VA.
Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, former VA Poet Laureate
Edgar Allan Poe
Margaret Junkin Preston
Andrew Jackson Andrews
George Palmer Garrett
Joseph F. Awad
Visit to the Poe Museum. Richmond, VA.
Visit to grave of “Helen”, Jane Stedman. Richmond, VA.
Friday, May 21st. Washington, DC. BASH. Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, DC.
John Howard Payne
Visit to Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington, VA.
Theodore O’Hara poem “Bivouac of the Dead”
Unknown Confederate Memorial
Visit to Vietnam War Memorial. Washington, DC.
Nicholas Virgilio’s brother’s name is on the wall.
Friday, May 21st. Maryland BASH. Midnight. Poe’s Tomb, Baltimore, MD
Lizette Woodworth Reese
Saturday, May 22nd. Pennsylvania BASH. Mt. Eden Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA.
Frances Watkins Harper
Jessie Redman Fauset
Visit to Joyce Kilmer Service Area. New Jersey Turnpike.
Saturday, May 22nd. New York BASH. Roslyn, NY
William Cullen Bryant
Visit to the grave of Henry Dumas. Long Island National Cemetery.
Visit to the grave of Joseph Rodman Drake. Bronx, NY.
Visit to Poe Cottage, Bronx, NY.
Visit to the grave of Fitz-Greene Halleck. Guilford, CT. 47+28= 75
Monday, May 24th. The Great Boston Poetry Marathon. Eastern Massachusetts.
From sunrise in Provincetown, at the grave of Stanley Kunitz, to 5:30 PM, at the grave of James Russell and Maria Lowell, we visited 26 poets’ graves. This set a new literary land speed record.
1. Stanley Kuntiz
2. Elise Asher
3. Norman Mailer
Forrest Hills Cemetery, Boston, MA:
4. Edward Estlin Cummings
5. Eugene O’Neil
6. James Freedman Clarke
7. Anne Sexton
First Parish Church, Cambridge MA
8. Washington Allston
9. Richard Henry Dana
Visit to Woodberry Poetry Room. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Visit to Longfellow House. Cambridge, MA
Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA:
(Numbers 17 through 26)
Julia Ward Howe
James Thomas Fields
Louise Chandler Moulton
Christopher Pearse Cranch
Thomas Gold Appleton
Rev. John Pierpont, Sr.
James Russell Lowell
Tuesday, May 25th.
Visit to Niles Beach, MA, where some of the ashes of Vincent Ferrini were scattered.
Visit to the grave of Charles Olson. Gloucester, MA.