Resident Honored for Celebrating Joyce Kilmer Legacy, 100th Anniversary

The famous poet lived in Mahwah when he penned 'Trees' 100 years ago. Thanks to resident and Kilmer enthusiast Alex Michelini, everybody knows it.

Michelini with Mayor Bill Laforet
Michelini with Mayor Bill Laforet

One hundred years ago in Mahwah, famed poet Joyce Kilmer, who was living in the township at the time, wrote ‘Trees.’

Throughout the year, resident Alex Michelini has been on a mission to prove it, and to encourage Mahwah residents to acknowledge the anniversary, and take more pride in the connection between the township and the poet.

At a township council meeting earlier this month, the town thanked him for it.

Historic Preservation Commission Chair Barbara Shanley, along with the mayor and township council, presented Michelini with an award thanking him for all of his work this year.

In her speech thanking and congratulating Michelini, Shanley mentioned some of the major work he has done of the past year, including forming the Joyce Kilmer Society – a group which hosts events, puts on exhibits about Kilmer history, and releases a monthly newsletter – creating a 100th anniversary recognition of ‘Trees,’ and traveling to a library at Georgetown University to find proof that the famous poem was written in Mahwah.

The finding “resolved a decades long historical mystery,” Shanley said, mentioning that many other towns had previously claimed that the poem was written there.

Michelini thanked the group for the recognition. 


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