I just got an email from Walter Skold, head of the Dead Poets Society of America, letting me know about a new literary holiday meant to honor and remember our dead poets, known and unknown. The festive occasion is Oct. 7, and it’s endorsed by a bunch of us poets laureates of various states.
Skold writes, “Frankly, it is an idea that is past due; our culture does not give due recognition to the hundreds of past poets who sang their hearts out and contributed such wealth to our cultural commons. Please join in the fun and help create a new, literary, living tradition.” How can we create this new tradition? Well, organize readings, or just stand on a chair in the middle of your living room and read some of the great works of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, or your great aunt Leonora who wrote poetry in secret. As for me, I’ll be telling folks about this holiday from the readings and workshops I’ll be doing that day in Marshall County, Kansas.
Long live the dead poets! Long may we sing of those known and unknown to changed our lives with their words.