In the Valley of Poets

“In the Valley of Poets” is an article by co-blogger Paul Marion in this month’s Merrimack Valley Magazine. Before surveying the nine famous poets and writers profiled in this article, Paul writes “There is a case to be made that our river valley is extraordinary, if not unique, among national locations with significant clusters of authors.”

My field is history, not literature or poetry, but you can’t really understand the history of a place without also considering the literature, religion and philosophy of the people who live in that place. That’s one of the reasons this website, dedicated to “history and politics in Lowell,” now also contains a number of profiles of local writers in a section called Literary Lowell Plus (with the “plus” being the rest of the Merrimack Valley).

Missing from our webpage is a high-level survey of the leading authors and poets from this region, both past and present. In this Merrimack Valley Magazine article, Paul provides that with the precision and ease of one who has a lifetime of familiarity with the work of these artists.

Here are the writers/poets covered in this issue:

  • Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) of North Andover
  • Robert Frost (1874-1963) from Lawrence High School
  • John Greenleaf Whittier (1808-1892) of Amesbury
  • Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) of Lowell
  • Lucy Larcom (1824-1893) of Lowell
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) of Andover
  • John P. Marquand (1893-1960) of Newburyport
  • John Updike (1932-2009) of Georgetown
  • Andre Dubus II (1936-1999) of Haverhill

Look for this cover at the magazine rack

Hopefully you already subscribe to Merrimack Valley Magazine and this issue – July/August 2019 – is sitting in your stack of incoming mail from this past week (because the article is not yet online). If you’re not a subscriber, you can find single issues of the magazine around the Merrimack Valley at Hannaford Supermarkets, Market Basket, Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, Tedeschi Food Shops, Rite Aid Pharmacy, 7 eleven, White Hen Pantry and other places. You can also purchase a single issue on the magazine’s website, but you should also purchase a full subscription because the September/October edition will bring Part II of Paul’s article which will look at contemporary writers from this region.

2 Responses to In the Valley of Poets

  1. Karen M. Kline says:

    Paul, Thank You

    Words matter.

    About 2003, I began using the term Valley of the Poets to describe this section of the Merrimack Valley. I could not imagine where it would lead. Poetry is now a vibrant part of our community through the efforts of so many talented folks.

    We invite everyone to come see where English – language poetry began in the New World, with Anne Dudley Bradstreet.

    The power of the written word cannot be overstated, especially in turbulent times.

    Words created the vision that is America and words can heal it.

    Come, please come to the Merrimack Valley, where early poets found their inspiration . . . and still do today.

    This is so exciting, Paul. You weave a story of how culture and history are forever intertwined and I cannot wait for part two!

    Shalom, Karen

  2. Kathleen Aponick says:


    This is a fine article and gave me details about the lives of these well-known writers I hadn’t known, especially those of Lucy Larcom and John P. Marquand who are less written about than the others.

    I look forward to the second installment.

    Kathleen Aponick