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Monadnock Poetry

         There have been literally hundreds of poems written about the mountain, including some from recognized masters like Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Greenleaf Whittier and Edward Arlington Robinson. But there are also many poems by more obscure poets as well as poetry that is more fun than literary. This page features a variety of poems about Monadnock.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Monadnoc (1846)  This is one of Emerson's most famous poems, setting out the Transcendentalists' view of nature as something that humans can use as a teacher. The publication of this long poem put Monadnock on the literary map, having an impact on a generation of writers who came to the Monadnock Mountain House because of its association with Emerson and the mountain.

H. P. Lovecraft: To Templeton and Mount Monadnock (1917)  This is one of Lovecraft's earliest published poems. Heavily influenced by Edgar Allen Poe he made his reputation writing horror stories. The first part of this poem seems to take a fairly racist attitude toward New England immigrants, but the last part, about Monadnock, really seems to capture its mystical power.

Amy Lowell: Monadnock in Early Spring (1912) Lowell was the daughter of a famous Boston family who bought an estate on the shore of Dublin Lake and participated in the "Latin Quarter" activities of the artists' colony there. As a 250-pound lesbian who liked to smoke cigars she attracted quite a bit of attention there. Ezra Pound famously referred to her as a "hippopoetess."  This sonnet comes from her first published collection of poems A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass.

Amos A. Parker: Monadnock Mountain and Its Surroundings (c. 1870) This poem existed for many years as a long anonymous set of verses that were published under the authorship of "an old settler" and were recited on the Monadnock Mountain House porch by people who had memorized the entire poem. One of the frequent participants was Amos Parker, a business partner of the Batcheller brothers who owned the hotel. He always denied that he was the author, at least until his book of poetry "Poems at Four Score" was published and the poem was finally acknowledged as his.

The Rev. William B. O. Peabody, D.D: Monadnoc (1825) This is the earliest published poem about Mount Monadnock. Peabody was a frequent contributor to the North American Review Magazine and half of a pair of twins who attended Harvard together a few years ahead of Emerson. It's unlikely that he ever climbed Monadnock and the poem is written from the point of view of an observer. -

Will LaPage The Roar of the Mountain (1989) LaPage is that rarest of all things, a bureaucrat who is also a poet! A Jaffrey native, he served for a decade as the director of New Hampshire State Parks, but his favorite mountain was always Monadnock, where he climbed as a boy and camped out on the exact spot as his hero Henry David Thoreau. Monadnock's mysterious "roar" has been described by hikers for over a century. 1989 used by permission.

Edna Dean Proctor Monadnock in October Proctor is best remembered today as a Civil War poet who wrote the lyrics to songs sung by troops. Her work was officially acknowledged by Abraham Lincoln. After the war she went on a world tour writing travel pieces and finally returned to her native Henniker, New Hampshire where she wrote a book of verse that included this piece.

John Greenleaf Whittier Monadnock from Wachusett (1862) Whittier, known as the "Quaker Poet" because of his religion admitted that he had never been anywhere near Monadnock during his lifetime, even though he lived most of his life within sight of it. This poem was part of a pair of poems about mountains.

John White Chadwick Monadnock from Chesterfield Chadwick was another of the long line of ministers who wrote about Monadnock. The poem was written in Chesterfield, Mass. 70 miles away, but the sight of it recalls a pleasant memory of being on the summit and admiring a young woman. Racy stuff for a Victorian minister!

James Pelletier Monadnock (c 2003 used by permission) Pelletier, of Winchendon, Mass., grew up in the shadow of Monadnock. His poem about the post-9/11 Lower Manhattan community has been recognized by dignitaries all over the world. This short poem captures many of the significant aspects of the mountain.

Rodger Martin Along the Monadnock Watch (c. 1999 used by permission)Rodger is an editor and one of the leaders of a local poetry group known in China as The Monadnock New Pastoralist poets.



    This page last updated Aug. 17, 2007