Monday, October 11, 2010

Dead Poets Remembrance Day - Mount Auburn Cemetery

Sometimes I'm really nice to myself.  Today I drove to Cambridge for the above event.  The day was gorgeous ... sun-warmed autumn air, blue sky, and the spectacularly interesting Mount Auburn Cemetery.  About forty of us, poetry aficionados all, headed up by Walter Skold, the founder of The Dead Poets Society (, were treated to a guided walk to the graves of twenty-two poets; at each site one of the poet's poems was recited.  My favorites:  Walter Skold's reading of John Ciardi's "An Apology for Not Invoking the Muse" and a recitation of Maria White Lowell's "The Grave of Keats" ... Maria White Lowell, dead at thirty-two, was the wife of James Russell Lowell; another member of the famous Lowell family, the poetess Amy, said of Maria's poetry, "It is better than anything her husband ever wrote ... he always said that she was a better poet than he!"

The entire event was special but by far far far the most delightful aspect was the presence of "The Proper Ladies" -- Anabel Graetz & Deborah Goss, pictured below -- who have heavenly voices, and are adorable, and are cute, and are delightful.  At Julia Ward Howe's grave they sang her lyrics for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" ... at John Pierpont Senior's grave they sang his son James' "Jingle Bells" which, in the original, has a slightly different melody than what we're accustomed to.  And it was Anabel Graetz (on right in picture) who recited the Maria White Lowell poem.

Another treat was the presence of one Rob Velella, pictured below, who describes himself as "an independent literary historian".  He spoke at the grave of Margaret Fuller, an early-feminist and progressive-reformist. Velella has a head full of fascinating trivia about historical literary Boston

(Disclosure:  I took the photo of Velella but not that of The Proper Ladies; I swiped it from the Internet.)

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