2019 marks the 200th birthday of Walt Whitman, America’s literary radical and great poet of democracy. New York will be enlivened by conversations about his brilliant work and his complicated, imperfect legacy.
For this occasion, Brooklyn Public Library will offer a variety of live programs and commemorative events, including publishing a series of Whitman’s poems with accompanying “responses” from people whose work and thoughts are important to us. We will also team up to produce several events celebrating Whitman’s work with short readings, tributes, and mixed media responses with music and poets reading favorite Whitman poems.
Additionally, Brooklyn Public Library celebrates the bicentennial of Walt Whitman's birthday with a full recitation of "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" featuring Brooklynites reading Whitman's iconic words aloud in locations all across the borough he loved, and in our libraries.
Whitman Weekend starts May 18!
A weekend of poetry, music and debate about the life and cultural legacy of Walt Whitman. Featured events will include a keynote with Mark Doty, a tribute panel with poets Vijay Seshadri and Kimiko Hahn, a critical rereading of Leaves of Grass with Rigoberto Gonazalez, Harmony Holiday and Timothy Liu, as well as Brooklyn Art Song Society performing Tom Cipullo’s setting of "I Hear America Singing" and Jennifer Higdon’s setting of “Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” and a Compagnia de' Colombari’s music-theater piece More Or Less I Am. The weekend includes family friendly programs on Saturday and an exhibition of Whitman-related materials from the Brooklyn Collection archives.