Dead Poets Tour of America (and Beyond)


“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive FOR.” — Dead Poets’ Society

I guess you could say I’ve a new hobby. (This is my euphemism for “obsession.”) Poetry has entered my life once again, this time in full force.

I’ve been a fan of and an advocate for the written word for some time. I’m that girl who taught you how to use semicolons properly (in between two independent clauses, without the need for a coordinating conjunction). I’m also the girl who proofread your essays for whichever grad school application you wanted to submit. (By the way, you still owe me lunch.) Anyway, you get the point. I love words! More specifically, I love when they are crafted in such a way that they evoke, challenge, and inspire.

I visited F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave today (with Henry’s help a la Google Maps all the way from California when I got lost) when the weather cleared up for an hour or so. The author of The Great Gatsby wrote on behalf of the Lost Generation during the post-WWI era. In an attempt to reconcile the collective disillusion of this generation, he created a protagonist, Jay Gatsby, who would ultimately become the hero of every passive-aggressive man in the western hemisphere. And every creepy guy who has ever hit on me. (Sorry, but it’s true.) I can’t say that Fitzgerald was my favorite, but he was definitely one of the best known American authors whose work still remains relevant to this day. I paid my respects to Mr. Fitzgerald and thanked him for giving me an idea.

So I looked up where some of my favorite poets were buried. Ever since ever, I had assumed that most of them had a space or at least an epitaph reserved for them in Westminster Abbey’s Poets Corner in England. I was right, for the most part. Rudyard Kipling, T.S. Eliot, and Lord Byron are all commemorated there via statue, epitaph, or mini-monument. However, I had failed to consider the many poets that must be buried in the United States. To my surprise, I found that Edgar Allan Poe and Dorothy Parker are both buried in Baltimore (40 minutes away). Then, I found that F. Scott Fitzgerald was buried in Rockville, Maryland, one city down! Tons of other authors are buried along the eastern seaboard, and I intend to visit as many as possible. I also compiled a list of dead poets’ grave sites across the United States and abroad. Next September, when I go home, I plan to drive cross-country. Now that I have my list of Dead Poets, I have a great excuse to stop in certain locations during the long haul.

Let the Dead Poets Tour of America begin!

A little less than morbid, a little more than impulsive. But you gotta admit, it’s an endeavor worth trying.

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” -St. Augustine

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