Dinner with Walt

all things Walt Whitman

Dinner with Walt - all things Walt Whitman

Whitman’s 195th Birthday!

Put those party hats on and let the celebration begin!

Today, May 31st, 2014 marks Whitman’s 195th birthday!



Poets To Come

Poets to come! Orators, singers, musicians to come!

Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,

But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known,

Arouse! For just must justify me.

I myself but write one or two indicative word for the future,

I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.

I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you and then averts his face,

Leaving it to you to prove and define it,

Expecting the main things from you.


Links to previous birthday announcements:

May 31, 2012

May 31, 2013




11th Annual Song of Myself Marathon!

The 11th Annual Song of Myself Marathon will be held in Brooklyn, NY on Sunday, June 8th!

11th Annual Song of Myself Marathon

“Dear friends,

I’m delighted to announce the eleventh anniversary of our annual reading of
Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”!

This year’s marathon will be held on Sunday, June 8 at the Granite Prospect
at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1.  We’ll be led off by thunder-voiced poet
Martin Espada, who can evoke Whitman like none other.  If you were with us
last year, you’ll remember our spectacular view of Manhattan, the Brooklyn
Bridge, and New York Harbor from this spot.  We’re open to the elements and
we (and Walt) like it that way– so please bring your umbrella if it rains.
The event is of course free and will begin at 4 pm; readers, please arrive
no later than 3:30.

If you’d like to read, please email songofmyselfmarathon@gmail.com with
your favorite three sections of “Song of Myself” (using the 1891-’92
edition’s breakdown of 52 sections).  I’ll be in touch with you as the
event draws closer, to provide the final list of readers.  Original
interpretations of your chosen passage are encouraged!  Last year we had
several folks read in different languages; we also had our youngest reader
yet (go forth 9 year old Emmanuel!), Jesse strumming his interpretation of
#4 on guitar, Connor reciting #s16 and 17 from memory, and not one but TWO
Walt Whitmans.  Please do have fun out there!  You know Walt would love

For more information on the site of the reading (and some great photos of
last year’s event), please visit:


Smorgasburg, the fabulous weekly food market, will be held that Sunday
beginning at 11am at the Pier 5 Uplands; it’s a great place to pick up a
snack before, after, or even during the event:


Hope you can make it!  Please spread the word to fellow poetry lovers.

Warm Whitmanic wishes always,

Karen Karbiener”


Whitman in the Redwoods!

Just returned from a trip to the redwood forests in California, those amazing forests are such a spiritually-magnificent place!

Of course I took along my Leaves of Grass, I always take Whitman’s advice, he said in the preface to the 1855 Leaves of Grass…

…read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life…

I want to share one my favorite images from this trip, reading in the redwoods. Look at how the light radiates off Leaves of Grass, Whitman was definitely with me in those redwoods!


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!