April 12, 2016

Sunday, April 4, 2010

National Poetry Month 50 State Tour -- Massachusetts

Massachusetts, the 6th state (2/6/1788), lists their Poet Laureate as "No Position." As in, when it comes to poetry, we don't care enough to have an opinion.

Fie on you, Bay State. (BTW Marylanders, I think we should take over that nickname.)

With a poetic heritage like yours  -- check out this list of Mass. poets -- poetry should be honored in your state. You claim Ralph Waldo Emerson, e.e. cummings, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Mark Doty, Mary Oliver, Anne Sexton, Louise Gluck. Show poetry some love!

I promised a visit with Emerson today. Since his home state has given us the cold shoulder, here is Emerson describing a Massachusetts winter.

The Snow Storm  
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.
The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

   Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion.

You'll find the rest of the poem here. And you'll find Massachusetts on my poetic Wall of Shame.

Put aside that goopy New England Crab Chowder and get ready for the good stuff, Maryland Crab Soup. We're off to my stomping grounds later today, visiting Maryland, My Maryland Poet Laureate Stanley Plumly -- and I have an exciting announcement!

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