Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Today: 200 Years, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It's the big bicentennial year for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and today marks 200 years since his birth. The Today Show will have a segment; more interesting, most likely, will be the event hosted by poet/bookseller Gary Lawless. Details:

Tuesday, February 27, 7:00–9:00 pm
Birthday Cake and Community Poetry Read

Longfellow sidewalk plaque will be unveiled. Emceed by Gary Lawless of The Gulf of Maine Books, the evening will start with readings by Brunswick school children of poetry written in their classes for Longfellow Days. Following cake, courtesy of Wild Oats Bakery, adult participants may read from poems or their own composition for five minutes each.

Event Location: Unitarian Universalist Church, 15 Pleasant Street, Brunswick, ME
Fee: Free
Contact: www.brunswickdowntown.com
If you can't make it to Brunswick, Maine, today -- and I can't -- it's good to know there are events going on all year for the Longfellow Bicentennial. One site to check for events is www.hwlongfellow.org.

Longfellow started writing poetry after the death of his wife; his first blast of fame came at age 40 (and remember, "40 is the old 60") with the poem "Evangeline."

I enjoyed hearing this Longfellow poem read this morning by Garrison Keillor:


Out of the bosom of the Air.
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent and soft and slow
Descends the snow.

Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels

This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.

No comments: