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2016 SPRING SEASON – AN EVENING OF WALT WHITMAN
March 18, 2016 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm$15
AN EVENING OF WALT WHITMAN
Walt Whitman achieved a certain notoriety nearly 20 years ago when it was learned that President Clinton had given his intern a copy of Whitman’s “dirty poems.” Condemnation of Whitman and his poetry has occurred periodically for one hundred and fifty years; still it had been a long time since Leaves of Grass was looked upon so censoriously by the Guardians of Public Morality, who once had Whitman fired from his government job for having written it.
Whitman revolutionized American poetry in the middle of the 19th century when he abandoned meter and rhyme as the defining characteristics of verse. He has since been a seminal force in American, English, and European poetry. Early on he was admired by Tennyson and Rossetti — also despised by many other poets and/or critics. In the twentieth century writers throughout the world have seen him as hero and mentor: Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, Yusef Komunyakaa, Osip Mandelstam, Langston Hughes, Frederico Garcia Lorca, and Jorge Luis Borges among them. He and William Faulkner are perhaps the most widely translated American authors. His works are found in all major languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian.
William Connors, a frequent reader with MMSC, will provide a glimpse of the journey of this American original from a brash, exuberant shouter of the value of the individual American to the wise and optimistic man who experienced the near collapse of his beloved nation and who transformed the ugly truths of war’s battles, wounds, and death into compassionate and loving poetry.
Join us as we take a new look at this man whose work was a seminal force in American letters.
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