This panel celebrates Whitman's 200th anniverary with responses from poets in remarks written in verse and prose, as well as through dance and song. Panelists include Cornelius Eady, Kimiko Hahn, Ramya Ramana, and Vijay Seshadri. The evening also includes a performance, by the Brooklyn Art Song Society, of Tom Cipullo’s setting of "I Hear America Singing" and Jennifer Higdon’s setting of “Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.”
Poet/Playwright/Songwriter Cornelius Eady was born in Rochester, NY in 1954, and is Professor of English at SUNY Stony Brook Southampton, where he is also Poetry Editor of the Southampton Review. He is the author of several poetry collections: Kartunes; Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize; The Gathering of My Name, nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; You Don't Miss Your Water; The Autobiography of a Jukebox; Brutal Imagination, Hardheaded Weather (Putnam, 2008), and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain't Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000). Kimiko Hahn's latest collections Toxic Flora and Brain Fever were prompted by rarified fields of science. Foreign Bodies is forthcoming in 2020. Hahn teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, City University of New York. Ramya Ramana is a nationally-acclaimed American poet and author. She made her debut in 2014 at the inauguration of Mayor Bill De Blasio where she was asked to perform an original piece. The New York native went on to perform at over 200 venues in one year as the Youth Poet Laureate of NYC making mentions in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Brown Girl Magazine and more. Ramana released her first manuscript, Don’t Drown Her in the Baptism; the collection of poems explored femininity, faith and race. Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India, in 1954 and moved to America at the age of five. He is the author of the poetry books Wild Kingdom, The Long Meadow, The Disappearances, and 3 Sections, as well as many essays, reviews, and memoir fragments. His work has been widely published and anthologized and recognized with many honors, most recently the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and, in 2015, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was educated at Oberlin College and Columbia University, and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
The Brooklyn Art Song Society (BASS) is dedicated to the vast repertoire of poetry set to music. Its mission is to preserve art song’s direct expressiveness and emotional honesty for today’s audience and future generations. The New York Times called BASS “a company well worth watching” and Voce di Meche hailed, “as long as BASS is around we do not need to worry about the future of art song in the USA.” Opera News writes, “Brooklyn Art Song Society keeps the intimate recital alive with innovative programming,” and the New Yorker praised BASS as “invaluable” and “uncompromisingly dedicated to continuing the traditions of classical art song, both old and new.”
This panel and others throughout the weekend are co-presented with the Poetry Society of America.
Whitman at 200 is made possible with generous support from the Poetry Foundation.