Dinner with Walt

all things Walt Whitman

Dinner with Walt - all things Walt Whitman

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.


Song of Myself, Online Course offered

Just in from the Walt Whitman Archive!

Care to learn more about Whitman’s masterwork, Song of Myself…? Here’s your chance! There will be a free online course on this classic American epic from Feb. 17th through March 29th. Join me!


Massive Open Online Course on Whitman opens Feb. 17

Course is free and open to anyone with an Internet connection

By:  Ashley Davidson | 2014.01.10 | 11:18 AM

The University of Iowa’s first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Every Atom: Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, is open for enrollment. The six-week course, which runs Feb. 17 through March 29 and is organized by the UI International Writing Program (IWP), offers participants everywhere the opportunity to read, consider, and discuss Whitman’s epic poem through video lectures, live breakout sessions, and moderated online discussions.

The course is free and open to anyone with an Internet connection. To enroll, visit: courses.writinguniversity.org/info/every-atom.

Ed Folsom

Every Atom will be co-taught by Whitman scholar Ed Folsom and International Writing Program Director Christopher Merrill. Folsom is the Roy J. Carver Professor of English at the University of Iowa, co-director of the Walt Whitman Archive, and editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. Merrill is the author of six collections of poetry and a member of the National Council on the Humanities. His work has been translated into 25 languages, and he has undertaken cultural diplomacy missions to more than 40 countries for the U.S. Department of State.


You can get more info and register for the course here.


Searching for Whitman this weekend!

From the last section of Song of Myself, Whitman writes:


The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me, It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds, it coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun, I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, if you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, and filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.


I love this whole passage, but that last sentence I find encouraging and appropriate for my journey this weekend! I will be trekking to Washington D.C. in search of Whitman and intend to discover Whitman’s influence upon the city is still very alive. My trek will continue with a short drive north for further Whitman searching’s in Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.


Check back soon, I’m certain there will be lots for me to share!