Bravo to my friend Ed Centeno and The Wood Memorial Library and Musem for an upcoming collaboration on Whitman to honor National Poetry Month!
Today, December 19, 2014, marks the 156th birthday of the close personal friend and Whitman biographer, Horace Traubel. I would like to share a poem befitting of this occasion, written by Traubel himself on the dedication page to his 1904 book, Chants Communal.
Worn with the burdens of rebellious years,
Across the sea’s scan matching birth with death,
Like ships sky-sailed that earthward come no more,
Love’s dreams must vanish down the edge of sight,
All spent ahead where life will follow-on:
Celestial children, soon beyond my reach,
Entering the unseen port to wait for me.
In Whitman’s own words, here’s a birthday greeting that Whitman wished to Traubel on December 19, 1888:
“I don’t congratulate you—I congratulate myself, others: if you were as lucky as I was in your birth then you must feel rich indeed! Here’s love for all the rest of your birthdays!”
In remembrance of Horace Traubel and with sincere gratitude for his enormous contributions to further the love and legacy of Walt Whitman -
Links to previous articles on Horace Traubel:
Handwritten Letter from Horace Traubel
David Karsner’s Biography on Horace Traubel
A December 19th Birthday
Happy 155th Birthday to Horace Traubel: A Helen Keller Tribute
Horace Traubel Grave
Traubel Portrait: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Traubel, Horace. (1904). Chants Communal. New York: Albert and Charles Boni.
Traubel, Horace. (1914). With Walt Whitman in Camden, Volume Three. (p. 332). New York: Mitchell Kennerley.
Gerry, my pal – one hundred ‘thank you’s’ for passing this my way!
How about this for a truly remarkable (hopefully-more-than-once-in-a-lifetime) discovery!
Wendy Katz, associate professor of art history at University of Nebraska-Lincoln uncovered a missing gem from the Whitman ephemera. The newly discovered Whitman poem is titled, To Bryant, the Poet of Nature.
You should read the full article in the Journal Star News.
P.s. Dr. Katz has a very special connection to another very remarkable Whitman scholar! How fantastic. Keep searching friends, I’m certain there are many more Whitman hidden treasures to be discovered.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write, busy times indeed, but if you caught the previous post on this site about the Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter play, The Democracy of Oaks, by Adrian Drew, I have a few lively and delightful things to share about it.
I was quite fortunate enough to be able to make the trek-over to London to see the play, and W-O-W! It is brilliant, fantastic and a truly authentic work based upon the lives of these two extraordinary men. Drew’s play is a magnificent piece of wit and wisdom and I hope to see it someday in a full-scale stage production. I’m certain even those in an audience unfamiliar with Whitman and Carpenter would find the experience enjoyable, engaging and highly rewarding!
About a year and half ago, Adrian contacted me from the website shortly after he had written the play and asked if I would like to read it. I have had the very fortunate pleasure to be in contact with Adrian Drew since then and it has been extremely rewarding for me to follow his progress with this play, but to be able to see it in person and afterwards meet the cast, was a truly magnificent experience.
I recall thinking to myself after initially reading the play, how might an actor be able to convincingly portray either of these two dynamic men? I am delighted to share that Mr. Andrew Squires is a brilliant actor who offered a stunning and mesmerizing portrayal of Edward Carpenter. Bravo Andrew for such a captivating and inspiring portrayal of this remarkable and influential man!
As for the part of the American bard, due to accepting a part in an upcoming film, Nigel Barber was not able to play the part of Whitman. Fear not dear fans, Adrian Drew was able to secure another great actor, Gary Richards to play the part of Whitman. Richards delivered a fantastic portrayal of Whitman, having had only a couple weeks prior to the performance to rehearse the deep and dynamic role.
I have to say, I was rather caught by surprise of the feeling of the play, both actors delivered an intensely emotional performance and to—see it and feel it—as it came to life off the written page was extraordinary!
Many thanks to Adrian Drew for allowing me to follow this production from its early days on paper to the big debut—it was an experience I will always treasure!
I am thrilled to announce the exciting new project by playwright Adrian Drew, The Democracy of Oaks. The play highlights the extraordinary lives of two of my favorite men, Walt Whitman and Edward Carpenter.
The Democracy of Oaks
A gala showcase production of a new play
by Adrian Drew.
‘Be curious – not judgmental!” – Walt Whitman.“Theatrically compelling.” Professor M. Wynn Thomas. Author – The Lunar Light of Whitman’s Poetry.
“Fascinating Stuff. A clever piece for two great actors!” Rony Robinson – Writer & Presenter.
“A beautifully written moving insight into the lives of two remarkable men.” Dolores Long – Educationalist.
In 1877 young Edward Carpenter from Britain, visited his idol, the legendary poet Walt Whitman at his home in Camden, New Jersey. The outcome was far-reaching indeed for both men – and history too.
Adrian Drew’s memorable theatrical tour de force – showcased tonight for the first time – has recently been published to acclaim. It deals with two fascinating individuals and the complexities of Art and Life, revealing, on route, facts about such contemporaries as Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde, that may surprise many!
The play stars Andrew Squires, (whose work ranges from TV’s Emmerdale to the lead in the feature film The Heretic) as the complex Carpenter, and well-known American actor Nigel Barber (whose many performances on stage & screen from Baywatch and Magnum PI to the new feature film Firequake, have received widespread recognition) as the great Whitman himself.
The Democracy of Oaks is directed by its author Adrian Drew who has written over 20 plays that have been staged on the London fringe and whose festival production of Cocteau’s The Human Voice, and his plays Where Poppies Bloom (about the impact of The Great War on a small Norfolk village), Ellen (about the actress Ellen Terry), The Laws of Shadows ( about ghost story writer M.R. James), and his musical Torch Song, will all be produced over the coming months.
Admission to the Fan Museum for this gala event is £12 and includes wine and light refreshments. This semi-staged rehearsed reading should last approximately 2½ hours including intermission and is only suitable for people over the age of 18.
Friday October 10th 2014
The Fan Museum
12 Crooms Hill. Greenwich,
London SE10 8ER
Theatrical productions at the Museum sell out well in advance so early booking is absolutely essential.
For more information and to make bookings, please call The Fan Museum on 020 8305 1441
or email email@example.com
Although Whitman was selling copies of Leaves of Grass earlier, he being the ‘poet of democracy’, officially released the very first edition of Leaves of Grass on July 4, 1855.
To celebrate this far-reaching momentous big bang in American literature, NPR published a vibrant article by Rowan Ricardo Phillips, On July 4, A Celebration of Walt Whitman’s Irreverent Hymnal.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the granddaddy of American poetry; the gray ghost; the big thumper; the barbarian’s text with its barbaric yawp; the nation’s first truly great mega biblion; the Kosmos; the Civil War witness; the seaside songbook; the irreverent hymnal; the book of the lover; the book of the loafer; the peacemaker; Leaves of Grass.
I highly encourage you to read the rest of the dazzling article here.
I had an opportunity to visit the Library Company of Philadelphia in May. Among their many wonderful first-rate collections they own two copies of Whitman’s first edition of Leaves of Grass from 1855! This was my very first up close and personal view of this very special work of art!
But wait! If this isn’t awesome enough, it gets better! Just last week Christie’s sold an original 1855 Leaves of Grass. The pre-sale estimate was $100-150,000. You might be surprised to learn what the record-setting final sale price was for this Holiest-of-Holy piece of art!?!
From the June 19, 2014 press release:
He may not be topping the best-seller list, but the great American poet and humanist Walt Whitman set a sales record Wednesday at Christie’s.
A first edition of “Leaves of Grass,” printed for the author, sold for $305,000. That was more than twice Christie’s estimate of $100,000 to $150,000, and it marked a world auction record for Whitman.
You can read the entire article about the Christie’s sale here.
Welcome to the Eleventh Annual Marathon Reading of
Sunday, June 8, 2014, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Granite Prospect in Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier One)
Creator and Organizer: Karen Karbiener
Special Guest: Martín Espada
Image from Allen Crawford’s book, Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself