Friday, May 7, 2010

Dead Poets

The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living
~Epitaph on the memorial to T.S. Eliot.

This week, we're visiting poets' graves. OK, so today's topic might seem a little...dark. But it's not really. It's about history, remembrance, honoring our forepoets, and even having fun.

How can poets' graves have anything to do with fun? Listen to Tennessee poet laureate Maggi Vaughn talk, among other things, about visiting Thoreau's grave.

You can tell from the logo of The Dead Poets Society that they have a sense of humor. Their motto says, "We Dig Dead Poets....You Dig?" They are in the middle of their "Dead Poets Grand Tour 2010: 6,ooo miles...22 States...34 Daze."

You can follow along on the blog here and, if you're in the U.S., you can see if the Dead Poets Bash in your state has happened yet. (They note on their blog that Abraham Lincoln has the largest tomb of any American poet, and they'd like to be told if you can think of any that are larger.) They also have videos of poems being read at poets' graves.
Westminster Abbey has a famous Poets' Corner, where some poets are buried, and others have monuments or plaques (but are buried elsewhere).

Bottom photo by WolfieWolf
More links:
~ The American Poet's Corner, inspired by Westminster Abbey's: Cathedral of Saint John the Divine Poet's Corner. says, "In 1976, poet Muriel Rukeyser founded The Poetry Wall in the ambulatory of the Cathedral as a place where poems will always be accepted. Rukeyser explained "the whole idea is openness, a free giving and accepting of poetry. Poets meet so many rejections in their work. This is the place where poems will always be accepted. They can be signed or unsigned and in all languages." Poems can be sent to: The Muriel Rukeyser Poetry Wall, The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, New York 10025."
~ Poets' Graves, a UK-based site.
~ Want to see the grave for someone in particular? Find a Grave might help.
~ The Dead Poets perform poetry as music. (They claim that every poem by Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of The Yellow Rose of Texas. Hmmm...)

And finally, a poem...

At A Poet's Grave
Francis Ledwidge

When I leave down this pipe my friend
And sleep with flowers I loved, apart,
My songs shall rise in wilding things
Whose roots are in my heart.

And here where that sweet poet sleeps
I hear the songs he left unsung,
When winds are fluttering the flowers
And summer-bells are rung.

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