"Poet of the Body": New York's Walt Whitman
May 15 - July 27, 2019
How did a carpenter’s son,
grammar school dropout and sometime hack writer become America’s greatest poet?
To commemorate Whitman’s 200th birthday, this landmark exhibition showcases New
York’s role in the extraordinary transformation of Walter Whitman Jr. to “Walt
Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son.” Whitman is now universally acclaimed
as the "Good Gray Poet" and for his Civil War writings, though less
is known of his early years. The exhibition presents the story of his coming of
age as a poet through a unique assemblage of rare books, manuscripts, and
artifacts—many never before on public display.
Highlights include every
American edition of Leaves of Grass published during
Whitman's life, the longest Whitman
manuscript in private hands, photographs
and artifacts from the collections of the descendants of Whitman’s printer
Tom Rome and patron John Johnston, Whitman's
pen, cane, and locks of his hair encased in exquisite Victorian rings.
For a sneak peak of some of
the exhibition’s treasures, visit: walt.gallery.
Curated by collector Susan
Jaffe Tane and Whitman scholar Karen Karbiener, the exhibition is accompanied by a book, Poet of the Body: New
York’s Walt Whitman (Grolier Club, 2019), with a preface by Ms.
Tane and text by Dr. Karbiener. A commemorative
bronze medallion honoring Whitman’s 200th birthday has been specially
commissioned from sculptor Marc Mellon as part of the exhibition. Medallion
and book are available for purchase at the Grolier Club; book also available
FREE EXHIBITION TOURS
Free guided tours of the exhibition, led by co-curator Karen Karbiener, will be held on:
Wednesday, May 15, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Wednesday, May 22, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Thursday, May 30, 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Thursday, June 20, 4:30 - 5:30 pm
Monday, July 1, 5:30 - 6:30 pm. WorldPride New York 2019 curatorial tour
Tuesday, July 23, 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Wednesday, July 24,
4:00 - 5:00 pm. Introduction to Walt Whitman for children (8-12 years of age)
Karen Karbiener will lead a tour of the exhibition for children and their
caretakers, with readings from her book, Poetry for Kids: Walt Whitman (Quarto).
No reservations required.
LECTURES and PRESENTATIONS
Wednesday, May 22, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
“Printing Walt Whitman’s Faces,” presentation by letterpress
artist and master printer Barbara Henry (Harsimus Press). No charge; no reservations required; open to all.
Thursday, May 30, 5:30 - 6:30 pm
“ ‘This is the city, and I am one of the citizens’: Walt Whitman, The Body, and the City,” presentation by Whitman
scholar Ed Folsom (University of Iowa). No charge; no reservations required; open to all.
Tuesday, June 18, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
“I Sing the Exhibition
Digital,” presentation by Dr. Jesse Merandy and the Bard Graduate Center’s
Digital Media Lab (designers of the exhibition’s digital components). No charge; no reservations required; open to all.
Thursday, June 20, 5:30 - 6:30 pm
“A Year in the Basement
with Walt Whitman,” presentation by illustrator Allen Crawford (Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself). No charge; no reservations required; open to all.
Saturday, June 1, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
All-day Whitman Symposium
featuring presentations by Whitman scholars Betsy Erkkila and Kenneth Price, two
panel discussions, a PechaKucha session, and a performance of Whitman song
settings by the Dessoff Choirs (see http://waltwhitmaninitiative.org/international-whitman-week-2019/). Admission is free, but reservations are required by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ground Floor Gallery Exhibition
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
"'Poet of the Body': New York's Walt Whitman". The exhibition runs through July 27, 2019.