Dinner with Walt

all things Walt Whitman

Dinner with Walt - all things Walt Whitman

Horace Traubel Birthday!

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 –
Happy Birthday!


Links to previous articles on Horace Traubel:

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.


New Whitman Poem Discovered!

Gerry, my pal – one hundred ‘thank you’s’ for passing this my way!

This lovely lady, Dr. Wendy Katz, discovered a new WW poem from 1842!

This lovely lady, Dr. Wendy Katz, discovered a new WW poem from 1842!

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.



The Democracy of Oaks, A Play by Adrian Drew

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.

Edward Carpenter, Andrew Squires

Edward Carpenter, Andrew Squires

Walt Whitman, Nigel Barber

Walt Whitman, Nigel Barber













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
7.30 pm 

 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 info@fanmuseum.org.uk


NPR Arcticle on Whitman and “Leaves of Grass,” July 4, 2014

Etch of Walt Whitman, copper printing plate. Circa 1890. Dinner withWalt collection.

Etching of Walt Whitman on copper printing plate. Circa 1890.  In the Dinner with Walt collection.

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.


Whitman’s Death Anniversary, but Rest-Assured He’s Still Alive!

Today, March 26th, is the anniversary of Whitman’s death. While it has been 122 years since he passed as this article highlights, he is still very much alive today!

With big thanks to Stephanie Blalock for sharing, presented below is an NYU article on the brilliant and wonderful Karen Karbiener doing what she does best–searching for Walt Whitman! Karen and her students visit the location of the former Pfaff’s beer cellar in New York city, Whitman’s bohemian, pre-Civil War hangout.

 Under the Traffic, Where Whitman Drank and Dreamed

I love Karen’s suggestion that a place “has memory—that it continues to cultivate a certain feeling… it takes on an aura of maybe what it once was.”

You can read lots more about Pfaff’s beer cellar and the many people who frequented it here on this wonderful website:

 The Vault at Pfaff’s

And one last gem, unfortunately this establishment is no longer open, but around 2011 the former Pfaff’s space was remodeled and restored to what it may have been like in Whitman’s day.  Take a look at the menus, you could even order a drink called “Leaves of Grass.”

Too bad it closed, it looks like it was a wonderful restoration! I would like to have visited.

Inside The Vault At Pfaff’s, The 19th Century Beer Cellar Turned Cocktail Lounge






Whitman Presentation at Newark Public Library!

Materials for Whitman presentation at Newark Library

I am super excited to present Walt Whitman and introduce Leaves of Grass to the LGBTQ Book Club at the Newark Public Library for National Poetry Month!

Also, Whitman is featured on the poster this year for National Poetry Month! You can download or request a free copy of the poster here.

The image of the hand above is a bronze cast of Whitman’s hand made in April, 1881. I’d be interested to know where this relic is now–in the massive collection at the Library of Congress perhaps? If anyone has any insight on this, please share!


Welcome Ed Centeno!

I am pleased and excited to introduce renowned Whitman collector, Ed Centeno. Ed contacted me via this site in the summer of 2013, and since then we have quickly become friends and have thoroughly enjoyed sharing our Whitman collections with one another. I’ve invited Ed to share items from his massive Whitman collection with you in this space!

Ed has been collecting Whitman materials and memorabilia for over 20 years. In Ed’s words,

“My interest in Whitman started while writing an article about gay poets depicted on stamps. I learned that he lived and died in Camden, NJ. Not only do I have family still living in this city, but I attended middle school in the 70’s. I purchase several bio and a few Leaves of Grass editions.

I branched out from stamps to postcards (500 plus in the collection) and after learning about the cigar labels (seven different designs), I became fascinated by the idea of how the Whitman image and words were used for advertising. Just to give you an idea of my collection: I have devoted an entire room in my house to my collection.  My most recent collecting interest are artists books related and/or depicting Whitman. I also enjoy commissioning art work about Whitman.”


He is often contacted by the curators at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Museum and freely offers items from his collections for displays in the museum.

To view rare and wonderful items from Ed’s Walt Whitman collections, click the link at the top of this page, “Ed’s Collections.” Check back often, this will be updated frequently!



Poetry in America: Whitman (Online course)

A new friend shared another online course on Whitman!

Poetry in America:  Whitman


Poetry in America: Whitman Video
School: HarvardX
Course Code: AI12.2x
Classes Start: 15 Jan 2014
Course Length: 8 weeks
Estimated effort: 3 to 6 hours/week



Poetry in America: Whitman

Poetry in America: Whitman

A module focused on Whitman in a course that surveys 300+ years of poetry in America, from the Puritans to the avant-garde poets of this new century.

About this Course

A module in a course that surveys 300+ years of poetry in America, from the Puritans to the avant-garde poets of this new century, the course covers individual figures (Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, Frost, Williams, Hughes), major poetic movements (Firesides, Modernist, New York, Confessional, L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E) and probes uses of poetry across changing times. Who, and what, are poems for? For poets? Readers? To give vent to the soul? To paint or sculpt with words? Alter consciousness? Raise cultural tone? Students will read, write about and also recite American poems.

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.