Robert Frost was my first favorite poet. I remember being assigned to recite by memory Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, when I was in middle school. I practiced incessantly for weeks and I can still recite most of it by heart. The words echoed through my mind as I wandered through Frost's homestead … Continue reading Robert Frost’s New England Farm
Listening for the whispers of the transcendentalists on a visit to Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond and Concord, MA.
Exactly 154 years ago to the day, a grand celebration was being held within those very walls. As I stood looking over the wedding gown that Anna Alcott wore on May 23, 1860, in this modest yet iconic little home, a familiar sense of historic intimacy washed over me. Remove a century and a half and … Continue reading A Wedding at Orchard House
From Where I Sit: In the Vineyards of Napa Valley > Published in the UCDavis College of Letters & Science Alumni Magazine, Spring 2014 > PDF Article The beauty here in Napa Valley astounds me. As I drive down Highway 29 through Napa, making my way through lush vineyards, I feel lucky to call this … Continue reading Tattered pages, inspiring words
While many of the historic literary sites I've visited easily evoke the writer's inspiration, others require a little more imagination. This past summer I happened upon Eugene O'Neill's childhood home in New London, Connecticut. I was visiting my fiancee's family over the fourth of July in Westerly, Rhode Island and we took a drive down … Continue reading Two Sides of Eugene O’Neill
This Halloween eve, I was reminded of one of the greatest ghost stories never written. Back in the early 1800s, a young and precocious Mary Shelley traveled with her family around Europe, traipsing through forests and exploring abandoned castles (or so my imagination assumes). During a stay in Scotland, she took up with Percy Bysshe … Continue reading The Ghost Story Behind “Frankenstein”
When I started this blog, I never expected to uncover such a personal connection to a literary legacy. A family reunion this summer brought me to Elmira, in upstate New York. The small, rural town boasts of its enduring connection to Mark Twain. It also contains innumerable references to the Dalrymple family, which staked its … Continue reading Mr. Dalrymple, meet Mark Twain