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Things Seen in Graveyards

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Brett Rutherford has given new life to the genre of the “graveyard poem.” In this bracing collection of 31 works, what started as a mere poetic journal of odd “things seen” grew into a broad collection of descriptive and narrative poems about tombs, burials, exhumations, and the gatherings of admirers at the graves of famous writers and artists. Read the Macbeth-like saga of a Japanese warlord who buried the ears of 100,000 Korean victims; the uneasy burials and re-burials of Goethe and Leonardo da Vinci; sightings of cemetery sleep-walkers and mausoleum robbers; the oak tree that consumed the bones of a witch-trial judge in Salem; and the story of Pittsburgh’s radioactive millionaire, sealed in a lead-lined coffin in Allegheny Cemetery. In a “verse mystery,” the poet reveals the confrontation between Edgar Allan Poe and The Spectre of St. John’s Churchyard in 1848 Providence. Although Pennsylvania graveyards give rise to some of the most atmospheric works in this volume, Things Seen in Graveyards also includes visits to Hart Island (the Potter’s Field of New York City), Mt. Auburn in Cambridge, Lovecraft’s grave in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, the cursed ground of Aceldema in Israel, a burial shrine in Kyoto, and the loneliest cemetery in the world in the Atacama Desert of Chile. Spectral, satirical, romantic, supernatural and transcendental, these poems will make your skeleton dance and sing. This is an expanded second edition of this work, with many of the original poems revised or expanded, and eight new poems added.

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