September 24 and 25, 2022
The Dry Salvages Festival 2022
A celebration of T. S. Eliot

The Directors of the T. S. Eliot Foundation invite you to The Dry Salvages Festival to mark the connection between the Nobel Prize-winning poet and Gloucester, the home of his childhood summers, where he often said he was happiest.  We hope you will join us in bird-watching and boat trips, tours of the Eliot house, an art exhibition inspired by his work and a performance of his most famous poems.

Festival Schedule
Saturday, September 24
7:00am to 9:00am
Bird-watching by John NelsonSee bio
Meeting place

Parking lot of the Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, 75 Eastern Point Blvd. Do not be deterred by the 'Residents Only' sign at the entrance to Eastern Point. The Beauport House is open to the public.

Limited availability
to sign up email tseliotfestival@gmail.com

John Nelson will guide you on a walk through the Eastern Pont area looking for birds that are referenced in Eliot's poems. As a small boy, Eliot was a devoted bird-watcher, which is reflected in many of his poems. The poem 'Cape Ann' is totally devoted to the birds of Cape Ann, most notably the seagull – 'But resign this land at the end, resign to its true owner, the tough one, the sea-gull' and the sparrow – 'Oh quick quick quick, quick hear the song-sparrow, swamp sparrow, fox-sparrow, vesper-sparrow at dawn and dusk.'

10:00am to 5:00pm
Exhibition at Cape Ann Museum
Eliot’s Gloucester – Collection of letters and photographs
Walking with Eliot – Cape Ann Paintings by Bruce Herman
Cape Ann Museum
27 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
Eliot's Gloucester

Born in St Louis, Missouri in 1888, Eliot and his family escaped the oppressive heat of St Louis by spending their summers in the cool sea breezes on Eastern Point in Gloucester from 1890–1919. As a young man, Eliot learned to sail, dig for crabs, and enjoy the natural beauty of the rocky coastline 'What seas what shores what grey rock and what islands' (from the poem 'Marina'). The exhibition represents a collection of letters and photographs illustrating a time in his life when he was the happiest, an environment that inspired him to write some of his best poems.

Walking with Eliot – Cape Ann
Paintings by Bruce Herman

The ocean off Gloucester’s rocky coastline 'Measures time, not our time ... Older than the time of chronometers', as Eliot writes in The Dry Salvages. This same sense of time – geologic, oceanic time – along with the topography, weather and colours of Cape Ann – have all shaped Bruce Herman's art.

10:00am to 1:00pm
Dry Salvages boat tour commentated
by Ted WidmerSee bio
Harbor Tours
66 Harbor Loop
Gloucester, MA 01930

Limited availability, weather permitting. To purchase tickets go to www.capeannharbortours.com

Snacks, beverages, and toilets available on board. Refunds available due to weather cancellation.

Young Eliot, a keen sailor, was transfixed by stories of shipwrecks on the local treacherous outcrop of rocks known as The Dry Salvages and would immortalize them in the title of one of the poems in his greatest work Four Quartets. As Eliot once said, 'The Dry Salvages, this sense of the sea, which "is all about us", with its huge, varied life, and containing the wreckage of so large a past, begins from an American shore: there are the Gloucester fishermen, the lobster pots, and the threat of the northeast storms.'
11:00am to 2:30pm
Day of Wonderful Cats
Windhover Center
for the Performing Arts
257 Granite Street
Rockport, MA 01966
Free to all, reservations recommended, go to A celebration of cats
Calling all cat lovers and poetry buffs! Come and celebrate the love of cats during Gloucester’s inaugural T. S. Eliot Festival, Gloucester’s most celebrated poet. In 1939, T. S. Eliot wrote a volume of playful and whimsical cat poems for his godchildren, titled Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. Come dressed in a cat costume (if you like) and enjoy a day of festivities, including face painting; writing and reading a poem about your favorite cat; drawing and painting (in conjunction with ArtHaven); and games. If the mood takes you to be a cat for even a moment, there will be a painted billboard face insert of a cat for a photo op. Bring your picnic and a blanket. The day concludes with a cat dance performance for all by local dance companies – Magma and BoSoma
8:00pm to 9:30pm
Dead Poets Live – Let Us Go Then
Gloucester Stage Company
267 East Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
Let Us Go Then is a staged setting of T. S. Eliot’s poetry for two readers. It takes as its cue the continuities between some of Eliot’s major works: 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock', 'Portrait of a Lady' and The Waste Land. Taken together, these poems tell the surprisingly coherent and dramatic story of a relationship – fractured and disconnected – between two people in spiritual crisis.
Dead Poets Live is about putting poetry on the stage, drawing together the most exciting performers and the most inspiring venues to bring our greatest poets to new audiences. We create theater out of poems and poets. To date we have presented individual poets, poets in pairs and groups and themes, presented friends, rivals, lovers, alliances and dalliances – in whatever limit makes the poetry dramatic. Dead Poets Live has brought to the stage Byron and Shelley, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, Edward Thomas and Robert Frost, Plath, Dickinson, Yeats, Lear, Pushkin, Stevie Smith, with performances from the likes of Glenda Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Denise Gough, Toby Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Rory Kinnear and Miranda Richardson.
Sunday, September 25
10:00am to 1:00pm
Dry Salvages boat tour commentated
by Jack BatchelderSee bio
Harbor Tours
66 Harbor Loop
Gloucester, MA 01930

Limited availability, weather permitting. To purchase tickets go to www.capeannharbortours.com

Snacks, beverages, and toilets available on board. Refunds available due to weather cancellation.

10:00am to 5:00pm
Exhibition at Cape Ann Museum
Eliot’s Gloucester – Collection of letters and photographs
Walking with Eliot – Cape Ann Paintings by Bruce Herman
Cape Ann Museum
27 Pleasant Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
1:00pm to 3:00pm
Eliot's House tour 'The Downs'
(four 30-minute tours)
18 Edgemoor Road
Gloucester, MA 01930
Limited availability, to schedule a tour contact tseliotfestival@gmail.com
Due to their fondness for New England, Eliot's father, Henry Ware Eliot, bought several acres of land from Elizabeth Ward in 1890. They began building their shingle-style house with its wrap-around porches in 1894 and holidayed there from 1896. Eliot spent his summers here until 1909, the year he graduated from Harvard. Eliot referred to his summers in Gloucester as the happiest moments in his life.
Biographies
John R. Nelson
John R. Nelson is the author of Flight Calls: Exploring Massachusetts through Birds, published 2019 by the University of Massachusetts Press. Chapter 5, 'Watching Gulls with Emerson on Cape Tragabigzanda', includes a commentary on T. S. Eliot’s experiences with the birds and seascapes of Cape Ann. John has contributed essays to the Gettysburg Review, the Harvard Review, the Massachusetts Review, the Missouri Review, the New England Review, and Shenandoah. His essay 'Funny Bird Sex' from Antioch Review was awarded a 2018 Pushcart Prize. He founded the Association of Massachusetts Bird Clubs to promote bird conservation and alliances within the birding community, and he serves as a director of the Brookline Bird Club, Essex County Ornithological Club, and New England journal Bird Observer. His book Cultivating Judgment: A Sourcebook for Teaching Critical Thinking across the Curriculum was published by New Forums Press in 2005.
Bruce Herman
Bruce Herman is an artist-educator whose art has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston – as well as in Italy, England, Japan, and Hong Kong. His work is in many public and private art collections including the Vatican Museums in Rome, Cincinnati Museum of Fine Arts, Hammer Museum Grunewald Print Collection in L. A., DeCordova Museum, and Cape Ann Museum here in Gloucester. His art and writings are published in a thirty-year retrospective in Through Your Eyes with Eerdmans Books of Grand Rapids, and his essays and reviews are found in many print and online journals.
www.bruceherman.com
Ted Widmer
Ted Widmer is Distinguished Lecturer at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York, and a frequent visitor to Gloucester. He has written or edited ten books, mostly relating to the history of the presidency, including his most recent book, Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington, a history of Lincoln's inaugural train journey in 1861. In 2019, he curated a series of essays about the year 1919, in the New York Times. He has also directed research institutions at Brown University and the Library of Congress.
Jack Batchelder
Jack Batchelder is a former marine biologist and environmental scientist who has worked in oceanographic research, aquaculture, public aquariums, and NOAA fisheries. He is a long-term resident of Cape Ann and helps with the T. S. Eliot House programs.