The Statue of Liberty

by Angie Hilbert
( November 17th, 2015 )

Statue of LibertyDid you know the Statue of Liberty has a name? She is called “The Mother of Exiles” by Emma Lazarus in her poem, “The New Colossus”. For over one hundred years, she stood in New York harbor welcoming immigrants and refugees. Many Americans (myself included) are direct decedents of the “wretched refuse” guided to the “golden door” by her lamp. The torch represents hope, freedom, and opportunity for all.

This week, the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty got more complicated. As we mourned the terrorist attacks in Paris, we thought about how she was a gift to the USA from the French people. We remembered her French origins as the work of Gustave Eiffel and Frédéric Bartholdi. We felt anger and resentment that terrorists would infiltrate a migration of refugees “yearning to breathe free” to exploit the hospitality of a compassionate nation. We witnessed their acts of terror and we were afraid. Some of us are so afraid, we want to betray the American Dream that the Mother of Exiles stands for: the dream of a better life and a future regardless of race, creed or color. Others believe that the terrorists win if we embrace our worst fears and betray our best ideals. Are you torn? Do you feel your courage tested? Look to The New Colossus. Listen to the words of Emma Lazarus and be bold. Be bold enough to love.

Emma Lazarus Home

(The New York home of Emma Lazarus)

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Read ~ Write ~ Wander


From our partners
Add a comment

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen: A historical New York Mystery/Romance

by Angie Hilbert
( November 4th, 2015 )

Trinity Cemetery New York City(Cemetery photos taken at Trinity Church Cemetery at 74 Trinity Place at Wall Street and Broadway.)

New York has been home and muse to an astonishing number of authors and poets. The highlight of my own visit to New York, was the Famous Authors and Poets of Greenwich Village tour I booked through AnyRoad with J. Americus Squires. (we’ll talk more about him in the next post!) One of the great American authors to call New York home for a while, was Edgar Allan Poe who lived in the city from 1844 until his death. (He died in his birth city, Baltimore, on his way home to New York from a speaking engagement in Richmond.)

Plagued by financial challenges, he never had a grand New York home. Instead he lived in a series of apartments, boarding houses, and rented homes in the country (the locations of which have since been swallowed up by the city’s sprawling urban development).

Trinity Church Cemetery New YorkHis most stable and productive period, from 1844 to 1847 coincides with his professional friendship with Mrs. Francis Osgood, one of the few female writers in the city. She was popular for her sentimental poetry from a female perspective and her children’s stories. Virginia Clem-Poe, Edgar’s wife, credited the influence of Francis for her husband’s productivity and sobriety. While there were rumors that Edgar and Francis engaged in an affair (and even speculation that Francis’ youngest child was fathered by Edgar, most historians believe that, at most, they may have indulged in a minor flirtation that culminated in Poe and Francis exchanging a dialog of poetry published in Poe’s magazine under pseudonyms. Most serious scholars believe their romance began and ended on those pages alone.  Indeed, their respective spouses and families socialized together regularly until the death of Edgar’s wife.

The book Mrs. Poe takes a different plot line than history. Lynn Cullen speculates how Edgar and Francis would have fallen in love, navigated their marriages and the strict rules of society without violating known historical facts. After all, history doesn’t know everything and Cullen fills in the gaps with an intellectual romance and Poe-worthy mystery.

What Wander Readers will love:

  1. Lynn Cullen brings 19th century New York to life. I enjoyed reading with my tourist maps handy to see where characters lived, worked and went during the story. “I arrived upon the shoveled promenade of Broadway. Vehicles poured down the thoroughfare before me as if a vein in the city had been opened and it was bleeding convinces down the bumpy cobblestones. The din they made was deafening. The mass of hooves of shaggy draft horses clashed against the street as they pulled rumbling wagons bulging with barrels. Stately carriages creaked by behind clopping bays. Hackneys-for-hire rattled alongside omnibuses with windows filled with staring faces. Whips cracked, drivers shouted, dogs barked. In the midst of it all on a balcony on the Barnums’ building a brass band tootled. It was enough to test one’s sanity.” ~Lynn Cullen, Mrs. Poe (For what it’s worth, I didn’t find it any quieter when I was there in September 2015.)

  2. Mrs.PoeBookCoverThere are so many historical tidbits about New York culture and history tucked into the nooks and crannies of Mrs. Poe. Did you know a potter’s field of nameless graves was turned into Washington Square Park… without moving the bodies?

  3. You get a peek into the history of the New York literary circles. Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcot, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Horace greeley and others become secondary characters or have cameo appearances. (Oh how I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at one of Ms. Charlotte Lynch’s “conversaciones”.)

  4. Edger freeking Allan Poe! What more do you want really? While the romance between Francis and Edgar is purely speculative, the story does shed some light on how Poe got his reputation as an unstable, womanizing, alcoholic and addict. Many of his flaws were grossly exaggerated by competitors and writers (who, to be fair, Poe himself antagonized with vicious public criticisms.) The little flashes of insight into his professional and personal life mixed in with heavy fiction, makes for a fun exercise in sorting between the two. (Well… fun for lovers of literature like us anyway.) “Madness… is as a drop of ink in water. It sends sly tendrils from the afflicted person into everyone around until all are shaded in black. Soon one does not know who is mad and who is not.” ~Lynn Cullen, Mrs. Poe (I always seem to enjoy the stories that drop the ink of madness into a drink of history, even if it does blacken the water a bit.)

Have you read Mrs. Poe? What did you think of it?

Read ~ Write ~ Wander


From our partners
Add a comment

The Library Hotel: New York

by Angie Hilbert
( October 28th, 2015 )

A bookworm in the Big Apple: Checking In

A romantic literary holiday is just what Dearest and I were looking for for our anniversary. As a child, I had fantasies of spending a night locked in the public library with nothing but a pillow and a flashlight. As a bibliophile yourself, you have probably entertained that idea also. You get why I wanted to stay at the Library Hotel for our anniversary trip. Like you, I read about the Library Hotel in blog posts and reviews. I couldn’t resist the literary concept or the delightful location in the heart of mid-town Manhattan.

Library Hotel Poetry Garden

For those unfamiliar with it, the Library Hotel is a smaller, boutique Hotel on the corner of Madison Ave. and East 41st Street on Library Way, just one block from the New York Public Library. Instead of the usual numerical organizational system of floors and rooms, the Library Hotel uses the Dewey Decimal system. For example, Instead of room 901 on the 9th floor, Our room was in the “Fine Arts” section (900s) and our room was assigned the Dewey decimal number, 900.01 which is where libraries shelve books on Architecture. The art in our room featured dramatic photography of bridges and building details. The shelves were stocked with books on building practices, drafting, architectural achievements and park design.

We splurged for a Deluxe Queen room. The room itself was a little on the small side but not at all uncomfortable. I’m told space is a luxury in New York and the Library Hotel rooms make the most of small spaces. The writing desk made up for being shallow by extending the length of the wall. The obligatory tray with ice bucket and glasses took up more than it’s share of real estate but once I moved it to the accent table the desk space was ample.

Library Hotel Delux Queen

Dearest and I are used to navigating around one another when we travel and even though the room was small, it was so well planned we were never in each other’s way. The bathroom sported a shower and a full size tub for which I was very grateful. New York streets are brutal on pedestrians. A long hot soak is just what you want from a New York hotel room at the end of an active day. The room was delightful, but there were so many other touches that made our stay special. Let’s talk about the reading room.

Library Hotel Reading RoomThe reading room housed a lovely library, comfortable reading nooks and tables. There was also a baby grand piano and sheet music available. Every morning, Library Hotel staff attended their guests at an open continental breakfast. Attentive hostesses were gracious and accommodating. I’ve been to places where “hostesses” were really just overseers (there to police the guests and guard amenities or discourage abuse and waste). Here it was very different. The role of the hostess was genuinely to insure our needs were met. They were thoughtful and delightful!

Later, in the afternoon and evening, the reading room offered a wine reception. with fruit, cheeses, and crudités. Again, the hostesses kept plates and glasses full, answered questions and graciously listened (with enthusiasm) to anyone who wanted to talk about their adventures or plans.

Then, at night, bed-time snacks were on offer. cookies, small cakes, cocoa, tea and milk. Any time of day you could find coffee tea and chilled infused water and often small snacks there. Everything in the reading room is complimentary and open to all guests of the hotel.

Library Hotel Literary CocktailsIf your muse demands stronger fuel, the Library Hotel also has a quiet bar with an indoor/outdoor design. A solarium opens to a romantic rooftop poetry garden and deeper inside is the writer’s den, a cozy interior room. In Ohio, I take fresh air and patio gardens for granted, but The Library Hotel takes great pride in their little garden oasis above the din of the city.

The specialty drinks were a lot of fun. Even if you don’t drink, you’ll want to go just to read the imaginitive menu. Dearest indulged in a “Tequila Mockingbird” while I enjoyed a refreshing “Marlowe’s Mule”.

Library Hotel ConciargeThe concierge service was a gem! We arrived later than expected and were afraid we wouldn’t make it to The Algonquin Round Table in time to keep our reservation so they called on our behalf and coordinated the necessary adjustments for us while we took our time freshening up and changing clothes. They seemed to have any logistical information we needed at their fingertips whenever we asked and could make reservations, secure tickets, get a cab, or book a tour in response to the whim of any guest. Maybe this kind if thing is normal in New York, but I had never experienced such personalized and attentive service.

Most importantly, it was quiet. Walt Whitman was certainly speaking for the ages when he wrote about the noise of the city. The constant cacophony of people, trains, cars, and advertisements is overwhelming. New York is an endless, stressful storm of dissonant sound (my words, not Whitman’s). But the moment you walk into the Library Hotel, the noise dampens. You realize you can hear and be heard without raising your voice. At that moment you realize you have been shouting all day. The Library Hotel is a peaceful, mindful island in the noisy chaos of humanity where you can finally hear yourself think. Just like in a library, it’s okay to keep to yourself here but if you do socialize, you can be confident you are among your tribe of thoughtful literaries.

Read ~ Write ~ Wander


From our partners
Add a comment
Contact Us · About · WanderTales · Advertise · Bhutan Tours · WanderBlogs· WanderTips · WanderGear · Newsletter · Buy Solo Book · Buy India Book · Book Reviews · Book Signings · Workshops · Speaking · Media · News · Images · Copyright & Privacy · Site Map