July 4, 1855

July 4, 2020

There may have been many other notable events on July 4, 1855, but we mark two in particular: the New York state legislature passed an early prohibition law (struck down by its Supreme Court soon after) and Walt Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass at the Brooklyn print shop of James and Andrew Rome. Whitman continued to revise the text for the remaining three-plus decades of his life. Read it on Project Gutenberg. And auspicious Fourth to you.

Whitman, musically

April 23, 2017

A new Kickstarter project is currently seeking modest funds to complete the budget for a symphonic poem for soprano and orchestra. Composer Rob Goorhuis will write the score for Walt Whitman’s poem A Child Said, What Is The Grass from Leaves of Grass.

The world premiere of the completed work will be performed by the Dutch Fanfare Orchestra with soprano Fenna Ograjensek at the Dutch National Championships Finals on November 12, 2017, in Enschede, The Netherlands. Read more on Kickstarter.

on the drawing board

November 10, 2016

Bjarke Ingels Group

The Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm, BIG, were commissioned to design 2WTC, the last of four buildings to border the 9/11 Memorial Park in New York City. The structure is currently completed only to street level, but the drawings can be viewed online.

Of the many options for the building’s main entry, it’s interesting and heartening to see that the designers chose poetry to adorn the huge wall. In what looks (from the rendering) to be illuminated letters, there are three lines from the opening stanza and four lines from the eleventh verse of Walt Whitman’s “Salut au Monde” from Leaves of Grass.

channeling Walt Whitman

November 3, 2011

Walt Whitman - Leaves of GrassIn case you missed today’s Huff Post, do have a look at Steve Heilig’s article, “The Greatest Poetry Reading Ever?”, about his experience attending a mass reading of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” at The New School. Read Heilig’s article here, and read the full text of Whitman’s poem (preferably out loud) here.
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image Brooklyn Historical Society

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