On Tuesday, September 11, 2019 The College Park City-University Partnership and the City of College Park together with the Whittemore family and Anacostia Trails Heritage Area/Maryland Milestones celebrated the unveiling of a commemorative marker to recognize and celebrate the life of Reed Whittemore.
Reed Whittemore (1919 – 2012) was twice Poet Laureate of the United States. Whittemore was a resident of the Calvert Hills neighborhood of College Park for decades, a professor of English at the University of Maryland, and a well-known poet. As a Yale undergraduate in the late 1930s, he started a respected literary quarterly, Furioso, and published original poems of the most notable American poets of the early 20th Century. Among his career highlights, he was literary editor at the New Republic Magazine.
Over 55 people attended the event that occurred at the Trolley Trail plaza at Albion Road in College Park on the occasion of what would have been his 100th birthday, including Whittemore’s children Cate, Ned, and Daisy – and his grandchildren. Grace Cavalieri, Maryland State Poet Laureate; Merrill Leffler, publisher at Dryad Press; District 21 State Senator, Jim Rosapepe; Mayor Pro-Tem Monroe Dennis; City Councilmembers Rob Day and John Rigg; Calvert Hills Civic Association leadership, Rose Greene Colby; ATHA Executive Director Aaron Marcavitch; Michael Collier, Director of the Creative Writing Program at the UMD English Department (and a former Maryland Poet Laureate); University Archivists and Curators Emeritus, Anne Turkos and Beth Alvarez; and members of the both the City and University community attended.
The Program began with a welcome from Monroe Dennis, Mayor Pro-Tem for the City of College Park and Councilmember for District 2, who welcomed attendees and to “express best wishes for a long remembrance of a great resident of College Park.”
The new marker was then unveiled by Whittemore’s children. Ned Whittemore, Reed’s son, gave remarks and estimated that his father, who would take daily walks through the woods that surrounded the Calvert Hills neighborhood of College Park, took roughly 22,000 walks during his time living in the community. “College Park is a great place to live,” expressed Whittemore.
Next, Merrill Leffler, the publisher at Dryad Press who published Whittemore, read the poem ‘Wordsworth and the Woman’ from Whittemore’s book, “The Feel of Rock.”
The Program ended with Maryland State Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri reading a piece she wrote on Whittemore for an NPR program and remarked at the end, “Whittemore was someone who couldn’t write anything uninteresting.”
The Diamondback 9-12-19
Hyattsville Wire 9-10-19