Mailing List Message #168
From: Loganberry Books <>
Subject: Happy 200th Birthday, Walt Whitman!
Date: Thu, 16 May 2019 11:28:20 -0700
To: <>
Happy 200th Birthday, Walt Whitman!

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A Walt Whitman Bicentennial Leaves of Grass Readathon

11:00am-5:00pm, Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, 2019, at Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights

Cleveland, Ohio. May 16, 2019: In honor of the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth, Loganberry Books invites literature lovers of all ages and tastes to join in a celebratory community read-through of Whitman's magnum opus, Leaves of Grass, on May 31 and June 1.

The reading will start at the very beginning of the book (which includes the beloved work Song of Myself) at around 11am on Friday, May 31 in Loganberry's Lit Arts room, inviting anyone and everyone to read aloud in sequence as much as they wish. Saturday morning at 11am will pick up wherever reading left off on Friday, setting up in Loganberry's side courtyard space, weather allowing, and reading through until words run out or until 5pm arrives--whichever comes first.

Celebratory refreshments will be provided, and Loganberry's extensive collection of Walt Whitman editions will be available for sale (including this lavishly illustrated edition of Song of Myself from Tin House)

*This event is co-sponsored by the Cleveland Branch of The English Speaking Union.*


Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1982) has been called a latter-day successor to Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare whose wide-ranging and ecstatic work celebrated democracy, nature, love, and friendship. Whitman grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and received limited formal education. His occupations during his lifetime included printer, schoolteacher, reporter, and editor. Leaves of Grass was inspired in part by his travels through the American frontier and by his admiration for Ralph Waldo Emerson. This important publication underwent eight subsequent editions during his lifetime as Whitman expanded and revised the poetry and added more to the original collection.

Whitman received little public acclaim for his poems during his lifetime, due to, among other things, openness regarding sex and same-sex love; self-presentation as a rough working man; his stylistic innovations. Upon self-publishing Leaves of Grass, Whitman was subsequently fired from his job with the Department of the Interior.

During the Civil War, Whitman worked as a clerk in Washington, DC. He visited soldiers during his spare time, dressing wounds and giving solace to the injured. After suffering a serious stroke in 1873, Whitman moved to his brother’s home in Camden, New Jersey. While his poetry failed to garner popular attention from his American readership during his lifetime, over 1,000 people came to view his funeral. And as the first writer of a truly American poetry, Whitman’s legacy endures. (adapted from The Poetry Foundation.)

Elisabeth Plumlee-Watson

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