• D.M. Olsen

Sixty Years Since Hemingway’s Death

Today, July 2, 2021 marks the 60 year anniversary of Ernest Miller Hemingway’s death by shotgun. I visit Hemingway’s grave each year. Many don’t realize that the man is laid to rest in the humble Ketchum Cemetery in Ketchum, Idaho. It’s a small ski town at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains where Hemingway spent a lot of time during his life fishing, skiing, and hunting. It is my understanding though, that during his final years, with his health and mind failing, he was remanded here when Fidel Castro took over Cuba and nationalized all US Interests. Hemingway’s beloved home was swept away with it.

Hemingway was a complex human, like many of us, but because of his legendary fame every action he took as a writer, husband, father, and human being was and continues to be scrutinized with academic fervor. I mean, it’s understandable, the man revolutionized writing in the English language, proving that you didn’t have to graduate from Harvard with a degree in English to write powerful, Nobel and Pulitzer prize-worthy prose. In fact, he purposefully wrote with a high school vernacular so that his words were accessible to everyone but so powerful that he gave the critics a run for their money.

The man continues to inspire generations of writers, and rightly so. I love his work, and I don’t take any aim or malice at the man’s personal affairs. That’s not my place. I am not the morality police, nor God. I put together a quick film below of some photos I took visiting his resting place over the years. I would highly recommend watching the Ken Burns documentary on Hemingway, as it sheds light on his struggles and genius. From massive head trauma on a dozen occasions to beating up other writers (like Wallace Stevens), to chasing U-boats and marching on Paris with the generals toward the end of WWII. He lived one hell of a life. Rest in peace, Papa.