JP A to Z: L is for Ley Line #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain

L is for Ley Line

Jamaica Plain has connections to not one but two 20th century poets known for the confessional style.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)  was born on a quiet street in Jamaica Plain.  Her father was a botanist who did research in the nearby Arnold Arboretum.  She moved away around the age of 4, but published her first poem in the Boston Herald at the age of 8, and maintained ties to the Boston area through her short, troubled life.

Ley Line-1
Prince Street, where Sylvia Plath was born.

Anne Sexton (1928-1974) was born in Newton, MA and lived much of her live in nearby Weston.  She is buried in the Forest Hills Cemetery.

Ley Line-2
Anne Sexton’s grave in Forest Hills Cemetery.

Draw a line on a map from Sylvia Plath’s birthplace to Anne Sexton’s burial-place and you have a ley line of confessional poetry crossing Jamaica Plain.

Post for “L” in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

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JP A to Z: G is for Graves #AtoZChallenge #JamaicaPlain

G is for Graves

Jamaica Plain is home to Forest Hills Cemetery, a garden cemetery opened in 1848 that serves as the final resting place for 100s and reflective spaces for those they left behind. But is also a prominent green space for JP residents to stroll, walk dogs, jog, ride bikes, and spend some time in reflection amid the natural and artistic beauty.  Sculptures both for memorials and contemporary sculptures contributed by artists make it a garden of art as well.  For more on the cemetery, read this post I wrote about taking a walking tour there in 2007.

Forest Hills is not the only place you’ll find graves in Jamaica Plain.  On Hyde Park Avenue, there’s the small and nearly-hidden Tollgate Cemetery that was a Catholic burying-ground in the 19th-century .


Post for “G” in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Click to see more “Blogging A to Z” posts.

Forest Hills Cemetery Lantern Festival

Tonight we attended the 11th Annual Lantern Festival at Forest Hills Cemetery right here in Jamaica Plain.  This is the first time we’ve attended since moving to JP as last year I was violently ill at the time the festival occurred.  This year we had just as good a reason not to go and that is the fact that a toddler should not be kept out past his bedtime.  What could it hurt, I convinced myself, to just go around the corner for a little fresh air and fun, he’ll enjoy it.  We paid the price in the screams of an overtired boy, alas.

If in good health and accompanied by well-rested children, the Lantern Festival is definitely a great event.  Inspired by East Asian traditions, the Lantern Festival is a way to pay tribute to lost loved ones by decorating a lantern, lighting it and setting it afloat at dusk on Lake Hibiscus. “Drifting and flickering with the wind, the lanterns symbolize the soul’s journey when life ends.”

There is also a great variety of music and dance leading up to the floating of the lanterns including taiko drumming, gospel, and as we discovered among a dark section of gravestones, a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace.”

Our lantern is lit.
Our lantern is lit.
Our lantern floats off to join the other on Lake Hibiscus
Our lantern floats off to join the other on Lake Hibiscus
One of the most beautiful sites you'll see in Boston.

This bagpiper appeared out of a dark corner of the cemetary playing "Amazing Grace"
This bagpiper appeared out of a dark corner of the cemetery playing "Amazing Grace"

As an added bonus, here’s the best creepy movie you’ll ever see of a bagpiper playing in a very dark cemetery.

Forest Hills Cemetery is one of our favorite places in Boston and we’re members of The Forest Hills Educational Trust, definitely worth joining for their variety of arts and cultural events.  Below are some previous posts I’ve made about Forest Hills:

Concert Review: Tunes, Tales & Tricksters

On Sunday, the Forest Hills Educational Trust and Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston presented a family concert in the lovely Forsyth Chapel called Tunes, Tales & Tricksters. The theme of the concert was stories, conversations, and communication through music.

Hans Indigo Spencer narrated the event by telling stories about the pieces and involving the children through questions and answers. Spencer also composed a great piece about a lonely cello looking for a friend at school. The music was interesting and accessible to children — even my 7-month old boy who was rapt in attention by the drums during “She who sleeps on a small blanket” — without being too cutesy for adults (my son did get fussy during the narration parts though).

Another example of why Forest Hills Cemetery is one of the great venues for arts and culture in Boston

The program included:

Richard Strauss
Till Eulenspiegel einmal anders! for clarinet, bassoon, French horn, violin, and double bass

Martin Rokeach
Six Questions for violin and percussion

Ned Rorem
Katherine from “After Reading Shakespeare” for solo cello

Kevin Volans
“She who sleeps on a small blanket” for solo percussion

Jean Damase
Conversation for clarinet and bassoon

Hans Indigo Spencer
“Conversations with a Cellist” for cello solo
with clarinet, bassoon, French horn, violin, double bass, & percussion