Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


Pulitzer Day – a good time to “Prize” Mount Holly Cemetery

The Pulitzer Prizes are to be announced today.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of the prizes, though not all of the current categories have been around since 1917.

Mount Holly Cemetery not only touts that it is the site of a whole host of elected officials, it is also the only place in Arkansas where two Pulitzer Prize recipients are buried. The cemetery is open every day, but a special visit to these two prize winner gravesites can be made on Sunday, April 30, during the Mount Holly Cemetery Association’s annual “Rest in Perpetuity” fundraiser picnic.

In 1939, John Gould Fletcher became the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He was born into a prominent Little Rock family in 1886.  Fletcher was awarded the prize for his collection Selected Poems which was published by Farrar in 1938.  Two years earlier, he had been commissioned by the Arkansas Gazette to compose an epic poem about the history of Arkansas in conjunction with the state’s centennial.

Fletcher is buried next to his wife, author Charlie May Simon and his parents (his father was former Little Rock Mayor John Gould Fletcher).  Other relatives are buried nearby in the cemetery.

The other Pulitzer Prize winner buried in Mount Holly is J. N. Heiskell, the longtime editor of the Arkansas Gazette.  It was Heiskell, in fact, who asked Fletcher to compose the poem about Arkansas.  Heiskell served as editor of the Gazette from 1902 through 1972.  He died at the age of 100 in 1972.

Under his leadership, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High.  One was for Harry Ashmore’s editorial writing and the other was for Public Service.

Heiskell remained in charge of the Gazette until his death in 1972.  He is buried alongside his wife with other relatives nearby.  Also not too far from Mr. Heiskell are two of his nemeses, proving that death and cemeteries can be the great equalizer. In the early days of his Gazette stewardship, he often locked horns with Senator (and former Governor) Jeff Davis. Later in Mr. Heiskell’s career, he vehemently disagreed with Dr. Dale Alford, who had been elected to Congress on a segregationist platform.


Women’s History Month – Charlie May Simon

Charlie May Simon is known today for being the eponym of a children’s literature award. But during her lifetime she was a prolific author for children and for adults.

Born in South Arkansas, she was raised in Memphis and then resided in Chicago and Paris. With her then-husband (who would serve as illustrator for her books even after they divorced) she moved to Perry County in the 1930s. She returned to writing, with Robin on the Mountain being published in 1934.  In 1936, she married longtime friend and Arkansas poet John Gould Fletcher. The couple resided in Little Rock.

Following his 1950 death, Simon continued to live in Little Rock, though she traveled all over the world. Her books for children and adults covered a variety of topics and themes.

In 1971, the Arkansas Department of Education named its annual Children’s Literature Award the Charlie May Simon Award.

After her death in 1977, she was buried next to her husband in Mount Holly Cemetery.


Prizing Mount Holly Cemetery on Pulitzer Day

The Pulitzer Prizes are to be announced today.  This year marks the 100th announcement of the prizes, though not all of the current categories have been around since 1917.

Mount Holly Cemetery not only touts that it is the site of a whole host of elected officials, it is also the only place in Arkansas where two Pulitzer Prize recipients are buried. The cemetery is open every day, but a special visit to these two prize winner gravesites can be made next Sunday during the Mount Holly Cemetery Association’s annual “Rest in Perpetuity” fundraiser picnic.

In 1939, John Gould Fletcher became the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He was born into a prominent Little Rock family in 1886.  Fletcher was awarded the prize for his collection Selected Poems which was published by Farrar in 1938.  Two years earlier, he had been commissioned by the Arkansas Gazette to compose an epic poem about the history of Arkansas in conjunction with the state’s centennial.

Fletcher is buried next to his wife, author Charlie May Simon and his parents (his father was former Little Rock Mayor John Gould Fletcher).  Other relatives are buried nearby in the cemetery.

The other Pulitzer Prize winner buried in Mount Holly is J. N. Heiskell, the longtime editor of the Arkansas Gazette.  It was Heiskell, in fact, who asked Fletcher to compose the poem about Arkansas.  Heiskell served as editor of the Gazette from 1902 through 1972.  He died at the age of 100 in 1972.

Under his leadership, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High.  One was for Harry Ashmore’s editorial writing and the other was for Public Service.

Heiskell remained in charge of the Gazette until his death in 1972.  He is buried alongside his wife with other relatives nearby.  Also not too far from Mr. Heiskell are two of his nemeses, proving that death and cemeteries can be the great equalizer. In the early days of his Gazette stewardship, he often locked horns with Senator (and former Governor) Jeff Davis. Later in Mr. Heiskell’s career, he vehemently disagreed with Dr. Dale Alford, who had been elected to Congress on a segregationist platform.


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On Pulitzer Day – Prizing Mount Holly

The Pulitzer Prizes are to be announced today.  Mount Holly Cemetery not only touts that it is the site of a whole host of elected officials, it is also the only place in Arkansas where two Pulitzer Prize recipients are buried. The cemetery is open every day, but a special visit to these two prize winner gravesites can be made next Sunday during the Mount Holly Cemetery Association’s annual “Rest in Perpetuity” fundraiser picnic.

In 1939, John Gould Fletcher became the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He was born into a prominent Little Rock family in 1886.  Fletcher was awarded the prize for his collection Selected Poems which was published by Farrar in 1938.  Two years earlier, he had been commissioned by the Arkansas Gazette to compose an epic poem about the history of Arkansas in conjunction with the state’s centennial.

Fletcher is buried next to his wife, author Charlie May Simon and his parents (his father was former Little Rock Mayor John Gould Fletcher).  Other relatives are buried nearby in the cemetery.

The other Pulitzer Prize winner buried in Mount Holly is J. N. Heiskell, the longtime editor of the Arkansas Gazette.  It was Heiskell, in fact, who asked Fletcher to compose the poem about Arkansas.  Heiskell served as editor of the Gazette from 1902 through 1972.  He died at the age of 100 in 1972.

Under his leadership, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High.  One was for Harry Ashmore’s editorial writing and the other was for Public Service.

Heiskell remained in charge of the Gazette until his death in 1972.  He is buried alongside his wife with other relatives nearby.  Also not too far from Mr. Heiskell are two of his nemeses, proving that death and cemeteries can be the great equalizer. In the early days of his Gazette stewardship, he often locked horns with Senator (and former Governor) Jeff Davis. Later in Mr. Heiskell’s career, he vehemently disagreed with Dr. Dale Alford, who had been elected to Congress on a segregationist platform.


Poetry Month: John Gould Fletcher & “In Mount Holly”

John_Gould_Fletcher poetThe Pulitzer Prizes will be announced tomorrow.  Arkansas poet John Gould Fletcher became the first Arkansan to win a Pulitzer and the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer for Poetry.

The scion of a leading family of Little Rock, Fletcher was most known for his association with the Imagism movement in poetry.

Below is his 1929 poem “In Mount Holly.”  This cemetery is the final resting place of many members of his family. Fletcher and his wife Charlie May Simon (an award winning children’s author) are buried next to his parents in Mount Holly.

Supporters of Mount Holly will gather next Sunday (April 26) for the Rest in Perpetuity picnic in the cemetery.  It is a fundraiser sponsored by the Mount Holly Cemetery Association.

 

Mount Holly grey“In Mount Holly”

Here beyond hope is all that death shall hold of me,
This brown Arkansas hillside, dreaming through depth of mid-winter, alone in the southland;
Under the dove-grey low-swung cloud come up from the Gulf to scatter
Its benediction of deep rain, endlessly flashing and pouring;
Here, in the drift of the years,
From the seas I have crossed, and the lands I have known, and the struggles
I have faced with the steady river of time marching on through my vitals,
I have come back to this point of repose, to these stones side by side in the grass,
Turning as the earth turns against far Orion’s fierce whirlwind of stars.

They greet me unseeing, these graves,
Mute symbols of life accomplished, made noiselessly perfect,
Quieted by the cold hands of death that suddenly seize on the body
In an hour unexpected, as a thief in the night, running free with the tale of man’s days;
Yet not to be loosed from the soil till the sphere splits its core and is shattered
Like a ripe seed pod crammed full with thick seed of expectancies, memories, and failures;
Their dumb thought trails on in the soil while I in the high world above them
Lift up thin eager hands to the sky and cry to the sun’s dying splendor.

Here beyond hope is all that death shall take of me,
The blood that is mine, and yet theirs, the tower, the base and the framework;
The building not reared by man’s hands, but shaped in the night and the silence,
The framework of the body fashioned as theirs, for the blood through the generations
Repeats the same tale of Eden lost and Paradise darkly forgotten:
When the stars hang low in the sky and two souls become as one body
Straining past hope and despair to a timeless consummation,
Which is as the wedding-song of God mating the stars without number.
Here does the last life wait,
Crouched in its stronghold of bone behind the slow-vanishing sinew,
A spark without issue, a last ache of lust, a slow tide merging and dying
Into the running of quick hidden sap and the thin dumb flame of the grass.

Out of what chasms of fire,
Out of what lavalike torrents life sprung at the outset neither I nor these graves can remember;
They have become turf-covered dumb mouths opening below to the waters under the earth,
Which burst forth but once in the flood, and since then have ever been silent.
Into what dark seas we flow
I know not at all—I remember
Only the sunlight that lays a soft pencil of shadow to sleep on the grass;
The tramp of the black-clad pallbearers, the words spoken or sung, the lowering of the coffin to earth.

Here beyond hope, beyond dreams,
Under this soft and lazy sky dreaming in depth of midwinter,
Where the sweetgum casts to the earth its brown prickly balls, where the holly
Flashes its scarlet clusters, where the feathery pine sways its thin needles,
Where the red haw blazes with berries threaded bright on long outspraying stems,
Where the conelike fount of the magnolia spreads downwards a billion of star-rayed leaves,
Where the acorn lies split on the stone, its yellow sustenance wasted:
Here was I fashioned and made
By those who now sleep in the earth at my feet, as they by others forgotten.
Their speech was my speech, their dream was my dream, it was given
Beyond the cloud’s arbitrament of rain to create, or the slow earth’s power to destroy.
And I pause ere I go,
And stretch out my hands to these worn stones, smoothing them over and over,
Repeating their names which no one but I now remembers,
Praying that they may somehow bless me;
These who have given me life and so many dreams
On this brown Arkansas hillside, quiet in depth of midwinter:
Out of this army of graves facing eastward I single out but these two stones,
I wailingly beseech them
With the tears of the spirit torn against life and its days,
In this place where so many tears have been shed and mortal lives brought to the awe
Of the open portals of death, beyond hope, beyond dreams;
I kneel and weep as a man weeps,
I cry out loud as a man cries,
Let that which is mine and yet yours, this memory transient, this passion,
Marked by the cross of Christ on those stones, marked in my heart by time’s ebbing,
Be with me now forever wherever I go.


A Prized Cemetery – Mount Holly on Pulitzer Day

The Pulitzer Prizes are to be announced today.  Mount Holly Cemetery not only touts that it is the site of a whole host of elected officials, it is also the only place in Arkansas where two Pulitzer Prize recipients are buried.

In 1939, John Gould Fletcher became the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He was born into a prominent Little Rock family in 1886.  Fletcher was awarded the prize for his collection Selected Poems which was published by Farrar in 1938.  Two years earlier, he had been commissioned by the Arkansas Gazette to compose an epic poem about the history of Arkansas in conjunction with the state’s centennial.

Fletcher is buried next to his wife, author Charlie May Simon and his parents (his father was former Little Rock Mayor John Gould Fletcher).  Other relatives are buried nearby in the cemetery.

The other Pulitzer Prize winner buried in Mount Holly is J. N. Heiskell, the longtime editor of the Arkansas Gazette.  It was Heiskell, in fact, who asked Fletcher to compose the poem about Arkansas.  Heiskell served as editor of the Gazette from 1902 through 1972.  He died at the age of 100 in 1972.

Under his leadership, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High.  One was for Harry Ashmore’s editorial writing and the other was for Public Service.

Heiskell remained in charge of the Gazette until his death in 1972.  He is buried alongside his wife with other relatives nearby.  Also not too far from Mr. Heiskell are two of his nemeses, proving that death and cemeteries can be the great equalizer. In the early days of his Gazette stewardship, he often locked horns with Senator (and former Governor) Jeff Davis. Later in Mr. Heiskell’s career, he vehemently disagreed with Dr. Dale Alford, who had been elected to Congress on a segregationist platform.


Pulitzer Day at Mount Holly

The Pulitzer Prizes are to be announced today.  Though Mt. Holly Cemetery touts that it is the site of a whole host of elected officials, it is also the only place in Arkansas where two Pulitzer Prize recipients are buried.

In 1939, John Gould Fletcher became the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He was born into a prominent Little Rock family in 1886.  Fletcher was awarded the prize for his collection Selected Poems which was published by Farrar in 1938.  Two years earlier, he had been commissioned by the Arkansas Gazette to compose an epic poem about the history of Arkansas in conjunction with the state’s centennial.

Fletcher is buried next to his wife, author Charlie May Simon and his parents.  Other relatives are buried nearby in the cemetery.

The other Pulitzer Prize winner buried in Mt. Holly is J. N. Heiskell, the longtime editor of theArkansas Gazette.  It was Heiskell, in fact, who asked Fletcher to compose the poem about Arkansas.  Heiskell served as editor of the Gazette from 1902 through 1972.  He died at the age of 100 in 1972.

Under his leadership, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High.  One was for Harry Ashmore’s editorial writing and the other was for Public Service.

Heiskell remained in charge of the Gazette until his death in 1972.  He is buried alongside his wife.