Contact Walter Skold : email@example.com
Historic Literary Road Trip To Reach 500th Poet's Grave
April 10th -- On May 30th Dedgar the Poemobile and the Dead Poet Guy will set out from the grave of Edgar Allan Poe in Baltimore on a 16-State, 10-week pilgrimage to 80 poets' graves.
During the journey Walter Skold, a poet and filmmaker from Maine, is hoping to meet peopole at each grave while reaching the 500th poet's grave of his 6-year project.
"We want to meet at least one person at each poet's grave as we journey through the South and Midwest," said Skold, who has researched and visited 415 poets' graves.
"Nothing like this has been done in American literary history," said Skold, who is documenting his journeys for a documentary film. "The more live poets I can corral to help remember the dead ones, the better."
This is the fourth cross-country Grand Tour that Skold has gone on with his trusty sidekick, Dedgar The Poemobile.
"Our 3-fold focus on this particular trip is on the graves of State Poets Laureate, African-American poets, and women poets," said Skold, whose history and library science degrees help him "dig up" dead poets.
Steinbeck had Rocinante, Ken Kesey had Further and L.L.Bean has The Bootmobile," said Skold, who lives in Freeport, Maine. "But I've got Dedgar The Poemobile."
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2014 Grand Tour Press Release
Kerouac hitchhiked, Steinbeck had Rocinante, and Ken Kesey journeyed in Further, but the Dead Poet Guy rides in Dedgar The Poemobile.
Maine Poet and Filmmaker, Walter Skold, is the Dead Poet Guy, and Dedgar the souped-up Dodge Sprinter that will carry Skold and his son as they head West in hopes of making literary history.
“We hope to reach grave number 400 on our quest to reach 500 poets’ graves,” said Skold, “So it’s Po’Ward on the Western States Grand Tour.”
The trio is heading out from Maine on April 7th and they hope to reach Billings, Montana by early July.
“Billings is where we are going to “Find Frost,” said the elder Skold, referring to the 1st grave of Marjorie Frost Fraser, the daughter of the world-famous Robert Lee Frost.
“Almost nobody knows that Marjorie Frost was a poet, and that after her death in 1934, at age 29, her parents had her book “Franconia” published posthumously,” said Skold.
In total Skold and his son hope to film at over 80 poets’ graves in a journey that will take them through all 11 Western states.
Skold already has about a dozen living poets signed-up along the way to read at the graves, and he has set up a special “Follow Dedgar” blog so that more readers can meet Dedgar along the route.
Skold’s son, Simon, who is a theatre professional and travel blogger, will help film but he’ll also give dramatic readings of his own.
“As the wander-lusting, blogging and drama-instructing son of a grave-digging, filmmaker-poet,” said the younger Skold, “This tour could prove to be more epic than Bill and Ted's excellent adventure!”
“Seeing those great Western States and reviving the words of passed poets from ghost town to graveyard, I couldn't be more excited, “ he added.
His father, the Dead Poet Guy, says that another highlight of the journey will be visiting Rocinante at the Steinbeck Museum, in Salinas, California.
Rocinante is the camper that took John Steinbeck and his dog Charley around the USA in 1960 on a famous trip that has provided Skold with inspiration for his own pilgrimage.
The list of the well-known poets on Dedgar’s itinerary include, Denise Levertov, Charles Bukowski, D.H. Lawrence, Richard Hugo, and May Swenson.
“Probably a third of the poets we are remembering were some of the best of their era,” said Skold. “But others are the “doubly-dead” poets which we are trying to dig up and put back on the map.”
Doubly-dead is a term Skold uses to describe poets who were well-know when they died, but whose works were then largely forgotten by posterity.
“I’m also excited that the diversity of poets’ graves we’ll be discovering will include Native-American poets, Cowboy Poets, several former State Poets Laureate, and immigrant poets from nations like Iran, Japan, and Assyria,” he said.
Due to the ubiquity of social media Skold is hoping that people all over will follow Dedgar by watching the daily videos and pictures that he and his son plan post on the road.
“Kerouac didn’t have Facebook, but he did have a sense of adventure and a love for poetry, so I think we’ll discover many remarkable people as we travel the West,” hopes Skold.
“For instance, in Albuquerque we will join Beatlick Pamela Hirst and a group of friends at the grave of Beatlick Joe Speer,” he said.
Speer was a poet and traveling raconteur who is known locally as “Albuquerque’s Jack Kerouac.”
“He brought slamming below the Mason Dixon Line,” said Hirst, “And his newsletter Beatlick News was known as a "gem of the underground press."”
For nearly 20-years the two drove around in Speer’s VW Van and published his newsletter right out of the back while on the road.
“Beatlick Joe was buried in a pauper’s grave,” remarked Skold, “But in reading his poems and life story I can see he was a man who discovered and spread riches far and wide.”
Follow Dedgar and learn more about the trip at: FollowDedgar.org
Press Page for the Grant Tour : http://deadpoets.typepad.com/press/
Photos for Press: http://deadpoets.typepad.com/press/2014/03/pictures-for-press.html