Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, but you don’t have to wait until the end of the month to celebrate his work and his fascinating life.
The Walt Whitman Initiative recently released a gorgeous publication celebrating Whitman and outlining some major Whitman-related events happening across the country.
Here are just a sampling of events which will take place in the New York City area. And please take some time to read the publication which features writing by Karen Karbiener and Brad Vogel, both of whom appeared at our live Walt Whitman celebration back in January.
WALT WHITMAN BICENTENNIAL READING
The Great Hall at Cooper Union
May 2, 2019, 7 pm
The Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, and Poets House will co-present a reading of Walt Whitman’s work by today’s most celebrated poets. The reading will be held at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, where Whitman himself witnessed Abraham Lincoln deliver the Cooper Union Address in 1860.
BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY
Brooklyn Central Library, Grand Army Plaza
May 18th and 19th
A weekend of poetry, music and debate about Walt Whitman. Featured events include poets Vijay Seshadri, Tina Chang and Martín Espada, a critical rereading of Leaves of Grass, performances by Brooklyn Art Song
Society, and Compagnia de’ Colombari’s More Or Less I Am.
THE DESSOFF CHOIRS
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, Manhattan
Friday, May 31, 2019, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Whitman Bicentennial Festival: choral commissions celebrating Whitman’s poetry, including world premieres by Matthew Aucoin and Eve Beglarian, plus works by Howard Hanson and Gregg Smith. With a 7:15 pm pre concert talk featuring Dr. Malcolm J. Merriweather in conversation with the composers.
500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232
May 18, 2019, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Celebrate Walt Whitman through the lens of the people he worked with, wrote about, and knew best. On this trolley tour you’ll visit two brothers, one a Union soldier and the other Confederate, whom Walt Whitman attended to in a Washington hospital; McDonald Clarke, the poet many thought insane but who inspired Whitman; and many more.
INTERNATIONAL WHITMAN WEEK 2019 NYC
New York University, St. Francis College (Brooklyn), Whitman Birthplace (Long Island), Grolier Club (Manhattan)
May 27 – June 1, 2019
International Whitman Week is an annual conference that relocates every year. In 2019, IWW will be held in various locations throughout Whitman’s New York. The conference’s day-long symposium on June 1 will be held at the Grolier Club and is open to the public.
And set aside the afternoon of Sunday, June 2, to check out one of the most extraordinary Walt Whitman events of all — the 16th Annual “Song of Myself“ Marathon Reading: Stonewalt Edition. “Join us for this free annual NYC tradition! If you’d like to “yawp”, please email your favorite three sections of “Song of Myself” (using the 1891-’92 edition’s breakdown of 52 sections) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Original interpretations of your passage are encouraged – particularly with a birthday or Stonewall theme for this year’s celebrations!”
And listen to our podcast on Walt Whitman, recorded this past January at the Bell House: