The Washington Friends of Walt Whitman is pleased to announce a city-wide festival, “DC Celebrates Whitman: 150 Years of Leaves of Grass,” which will take place between March 26 (the date of Whitman's death) and May 31 (Whitman's birth) in 2005. These dates include the month of April, National Poetry Month.
Events are designed to highlight the 150th anniversary of the first publication of a masterpiece of American literature, Leaves of Grass, and Whitman’s connection to Washington, DC, where he lived and worked from 1863 to 1873. During this period, the poet published his poignant poems of the Civil War, Drum Taps, and his elegies to Lincoln, “O Captain! My Captain!” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” all while earning his living as a civil servant.
All festival events have free or low-cost admissions. Featured authors participating in the festival include Mark Doty, Anne Waldman, Grace Cavalieri, Mark DeFoe, Myra Sklarew, David Bergman, and Martin G. Murray. Events include poetry readings by regional authors influenced by Whitman’s legacy, guided walking tours, a meditation workshop, and a marathon reading of the first edition of Leaves of Grass. Co-sponsoring organizations include the Folger Shakespeare Library, The Arts Club of Washington, Beltway: A Poetry Quarterly, The Rainbow History Project, the Mayor’s Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs, the National Park Service/Ford’s Theater, the DC Public Library, George Washington University, and Cultural Tourism DC.
The festival opens with a Poetry Reading featuring Mark DeFoe, Grace Cavalieri, Sarah Browning and Hilary Tham on Tuesday, March 29, 2005 at 7:30 pm. These four acclaimed authors will read from Whitman and their own work. Admission is free. The reading takes place at Grace Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave., in the Georgetown neighborhood.
For more information and a complete schedule of events, please see http://www.washingtonart.com/whitman/walt.html.