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Honoring American Writers

Imagine a museum dedicated to American writers. Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? After all, we’ve already got museums devoted to natural history, modern art, classic automobiles, string, bottles, crocodiles and dust. I’m surprised we don’t have one celebrating writers. Yeah, I know, who reads anymore, but that’s a subject for another blog. A lot of states have created halls of fame for their own authors; we have one in Georgia, though for mysterious reasons it remains largely a secret from the public.

The topic of a writers museum comes up because there’s a search underway now to find a home for such a museum. A group called the American Writers Museum Foundation apparently has been searching around the country for a suitable place to locate this an institution. They seem to be close to settling on Chicago. I wonder if they tried Atlanta (or more appropriately Decatur, the center of Georgia’s literary life)?

Anyhow, the leaders of the foundation have taken note of the Windy City’s considerable literary resources — the nation’s largest library system and ties to a wealth of writers, among them Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, Saul Bellow, Raymond Chandler, Ray Bradbury, etc. — and have already met with a delegation from Chicago. Whatever their decision, I wish them well. Honoring writers is a matter always overdue; we’ve had a lacrosse museum for many years before we’ve gotten around to celebrating writers.

And finally, the U.S. Poet Laureate W.D. Merwin thinks it’s a good idea too. In his words, “The literate world has long known and prized American writers since the generation of Emerson and Thoreau. Whitman and Emily Dickinson have influenced poets and readers in English and in translation into many languages. The great current continues, and a museum honoring and portraying American writing would be an honor to the suffering and vision from which our literature came.”

3 Responses to “Honoring American Writers”

  1. Betsy Rhame-Minor Says:

    This needs to happen! Having a museum that honors American writers is necessary. We have museums for every other topic under the sun, and it’s surprising that an American writers’ museum doesn’t yet exist. Here’s hoping it will. And soon.

  2. Ana Raquel Says:

    I strongly support the idea of a museum dedicated to writers!!! Atlanta will be my first choice, but wherever they build it, I will plan my trip to visit it:-)
    Bill, Thanks for posting this info.

  3. Richard Lenz Says:

    Bill, thanks for sharing this news. I think it would be a fantastic idea and belongs in the South … I wonder if the Economic Development people are aware of this possibility.

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