Baltimore is a special place for those of us at the Emmett Lee Dickinson Museum because of the special connection the city has to the life and poetry of Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson's third cousin, twice removed -- at her request).
Baltimore is where Dickinson met Edgar Allan Poe, and it was there the two began performing as the comedy and music duo "Izzy Sharp and Moe." They were the first to tell "Waiter, there's a fly in my soup" and "Why did the chicken cross the road" jokes.
Poe's favorite "chicken" joke:
Izzy: "Why did the chicken cross the road?"
Moe: "To show the squirrels that it could be done."
Pictured below left: The historic Calvert Street Theater in Baltimore, MD, where Edgar Allan Poe and Emmett Lee Dickinson performed as "Izzy Sharp and Moe."
Emmett Lee Dickinson also wrote poems about the place he dubbed "Charm City" -- we shared one of his poems HERE.
We visited Baltimore this past weekend -- and we'll post lots of pictures soon -- but for now we wanted to share information about a wonderful indie book store we visited while we were in the Pigtown area, a quaint neighborhood in the southern area of Baltimore. The area acquired its name during the second half of the 19th century, when it was the site of butcher shops and meat packing plants that processed pigs to be transported to the Midwest on the B&O Railroad. At that time, pigs were herded across Ostend and Cross Streets to be slaughtered and processed.
The book store, Charm City Books, is located at 782 Washington Blvd, in the shadow of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It is -- as you might have guessed -- a charming spot for supporters of indie book stores and (obviously) lovers of books. Check out their website -- HERE.
And what do you suppose was on the top of the first shelf I spied as I entered the shop?
Well, no need to guess. I've posted a picture of the book at the right, Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life by Marta McDowell.
On the back cover, Judith Farr, author of The Gardens of Emily Dickinson, wrote of McDowell's work, "This engaging book imagines our great poet's days among her plants and flowers." It also includes an abundance of photographs, prints and poems -- though I suspect it mentions little to nil of her third cousin Emmett Lee.
We shall see!
As a lover of the old, the decrepit, and the abandoned, I also bought a copy of Susan Tatterson's Abandoned Maryland, Ruin and Restoration.
We have published past posts in our plog (poetry blog) about abandoned places -- HERE (scroll down). Interestingly enough, I recently won a copy of A Beautifully Broken Virginia by John Plashal when I'd visited the abandoned Presidents' Heads (click HERE). I thought the book of Maryland's ruins would pair nicely with the book of Virginia's.
If you live in Baltimore or just visit Baltimore, be sure to stop by Charm City Books. If you can't make it to Baltimore, but would like to support a charming independent book store, order something online -- their website is HERE.