October 8, 2017

Cambridge, MA. October, 2010

Can you hear Marjory Wentworth, poet laureate of South Carolina, as she beautifully reads Imagist poems by Amy Lowell here at the poet’s grave? One of the high points of “Sweet Auburn: An American Parnassus,” an event marking the first Massachusetts celebration of Dead Poets Remembrance Day. (The marathon day began before dawn in Gloucester, ended at sunset in Concord, with other events en route in Beverly, Peabody and Boston.) Additional stops along the two-and-one-half-hour stroll through Mount Auburn Cemetery were the graves of such lesser known scribes as Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Fanny Osgood and John Pierpont, Sr. (whose estranged son James wrote “Jingle Bells”), along with luminaries Charles Eliot Norton, Buckminster Fuller, Julia Ward Howe, Robert Creeley, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell and (ta-da!) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A good attentive crowd, a few loose nuts and bolts, a beautiful day. Readings from poets Lisa Starr and Rhina Espaillat, songs and commentary from the Proper Ladies (a quirky duo whose 19th-century dress and demeanor were almost frighteningly appropriate.) Why South Carolina? Seems Miss Amy, of the Brookline Lowells, chose to spend a lot of time in Charleston, claiming it had “more poetic appeal than almost any city in America.” Maybe. But it seems many chose to spend eternity right here in Cambridge.

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