April 12, 2016

Saturday, April 10, 2010

NPM 50 State Tour: Rhode Island

My free National Poetry Month poster arrived today!

My ten-year-old daughter explained to her friends that we put the poster up with great ceremony each April. At first they wondered what all the fuss was about and -- "It's free? Is that just if you're a poet?"

They voted the NPM poster as "cool." No surprise, image on this year's poster is eye-catching.

Our NPM 50 State Tour takes us to Rhode Island today. It was the last of the 13 original colonies to join the Union (5/29/1790).

My kids were tracking monsters today with the help of fantasy author A.R. Rotruck, so I loved this weird Rhode Island vampire story. Mercy Brown of Exeter, Rhode Island died in 1892, but was exhumed to try to save her brother from a family curse. Read on to find out what happened next.

Poet Galway Kinnell is a native of Providence. Current state poet laureate is Lisa Starr.

On the tour, I love finding poems that give a sense of the region we are visiting. Starr captures The Ocean State in this poem. If you've ever lived near an ocean, you'll recognize the pull she feels here.

Sandpipers, Again
by Lisa Starr

I went back to the sandpipers today--

it's been a while.

Six of them, or

was it twenty? Never matters;

somehow we all know when a meeting has been called,

somehow we all know

exactly when the surf

will start tossing back

its wild silver hair.

One time I was astonished

to find them waiting for me on the beach in Newport.

It was so quiet it was like rain

without the rain.

I wasn't planning it

my car just brought me there,

a most uncommon thing-- it's not that kind of car--

but there we were, alone on a beach.

It almost made me giddy,

like today,

just now.

I'd forgotten how much

I need them.

Click to read the rest of the poem and others by Starr.

Tomorrow, I will take you to Vermont. This time, we're calling the Ben and Jerry's factory first before we show up for a tour. Because I can't handle that kind of disappointment twice in one lifetime.

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