Dinner with Walt

all things Walt Whitman

Dinner with Walt - all things Walt Whitman

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!


Song of Myself, book illustration by Allen Crawford!


I’ve been following artist Allen Crawford’s wonderfully illustrated Song of Myself book project for several months now and the book is set to be released in May! See below for information on the Philadelphia book release, artist talk and book signing!

Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself

An artist talk and book signing with Allen Crawford
Thursday, May 15, 2014 – 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Join us for a talk with artist Allen Crawford, as we explore his personal and artistic voyage through Walt Whitman’s poem Song of Myself. Crawford will share the context to his approach illustrating the text, detail his relationship and struggle with Whitman’s work, and illuminate his own creative process.

Walt Whitman’s iconic collection of poems, Leaves of Grass, has earned a reputation as a sacred American text. Whitman himself made such comparisons, going so far as to use biblical verse as a model for his own. Crawford has turned the original sixty-page poem from Whitman’s 1855 edition into a sprawling 234-page work of art. The handwritten text and illustrations intermingle in a way that’s both surprising and wholly in tune with the spirit of the poem—they’re exuberant, rough, and wild.

Allen Crawford is an illustrator, designer, and writer. He and his wife Susan are proprietors of the design/illustration studio Plankton Art Co. Their most notable project to date is the collection of 400 species-identi?cation illustrations that are on permanent display at the American Museum of Natural History’s Millstein Hall of Ocean Life. They also created the Rosenbach’s logo! Under the pseudonym Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy , he wrote, designed, and illustrated The Affected Provincial’s Companion, Volume One.

Free for members! Program cost included in general admission. Advanced registration is recommended. For more information or to register, call (215)732-1600, ext. 100 or e-mail rsvp@rosenbach.org.


Walt Whitman Caricature

I’ve seen lots of great drawings of Whitman but this one by Charles Hefling is fantastic and wonderful! My friend Ed commissioned Dr. Hefling to create this caricature of Whitman.

The inspiration for this piece was the poem, Grand is the Seen, which appears in Leaves of Grass under the Good-bye My Fancy group of poems.

Grand is the seen, the light, to me — grand are the sky and stars,
Grand is the earth, and grand are lasting time and space,
And grand their laws, so multiform, puzzling, evolutionary;
But grander far the unseen soul of me, comprehending, endowing all those,
Lighting the light, the sky and stars, delving the earth, sailing the sea,
(What were all those, indeed, without thee, unseen soul? of what amount without thee?)
More evolutionary, vast, puzzling, O my soul!
More multiform far — more lasting thou than they.