Contact Walter Skold : email@example.com
May 25th -- On May 30th Dedgar the Poemobile and the Dead Poet Guy will set out from Freeport, Maine to the grave of Edgar Allan Poe in Baltimore, on a 16-State, 10-week pilgrimage to 90 Southern poets' graves.
During the journey Walter Skold, a poet and filmmaker from Freeport, is hoping to reach the 500th grave of his 6-year project.
"Nothing like this has been done in American literary history," said Skold, who is recording his journeys for a documentary film. “First there was the Batmobile, then the L.L.Bean Bootmobile, but now there is Dedgar The PoeMobile!”
"We’d like to meet at least one person at each poet's grave as we journey through every Southern state,” said Skold, who has researched and visited 432 poets' graves in the USA and Italy thus far.
This is the fourth cross-country Grand Tour that Skold has gone on with his trusty sidekick, Dedgar The Poemobile, a souped-up Dodge Sprinter with solar panels.
"Kerouac hitchhiked, Steinbeck had Rocinante, and Ken Kesey had Furthur," said Skold. "But I've got Dedgar.”
Skold estimates that he will reach grave number 500 in Nashville, TN.
"We're going to have a real big party with poetry-lovers in Tennessee," he said.
After having visited so many graves of poets, Skold, who nearly died of a heart attack after visiting Walt Whitman's grave in 2010, says that every day above ground is a good day.
"I have learned, or maybe re-learned, two main things from poets' stories," he says. "That love is the most important aspect of life, and that life is brief."
He says he learned this from the epitaphs on the graves he has documented as well as in interviews with family members who have met him at their loved-ones graves.
"The 3-fold focus on this particular trip is on the graves of 45 State Poets Laureate, and lesser-known African-American and women poets," said Skold, whose history and library science degrees help him "dig up" dead poets.
Along the route Skold has worked with several State Poets Laureate to organize community celebrations called "Poets' Bashes."
Skold is also a filmmaker, and he is making a feature documentary about his six year pilgrimage to poets' graves. Called "Finding Frost: Poets and The Graves," the film is in post-production now.
Another purpose for the journey is to promote the 6th annual Dead Poets Remembrance Day, which will take place this October 4th.
The Southern Poets’ Graves Grand Tour itinerary is on the trip blog, where people can sign up for an email to see pictures from the graves which are visited.