Walt Whitman’s 201st birthday is May 31 and each year since 2005 we have been celebrating his birthday in Washington Park in Albany at the Robert Burns statue with a community reading of “Song of Myself.”  Alas, this year even a small gathering of poets is forbidden.  However, we are fortunate now to have ways to do this online so Dan Wilcox has scheduled a Zoom meeting for Sunday, May 31, 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM.

As always we will be reading from the 1892 edition of Leaves of Grass the final version of “Song of Myself.”  Print editions are usually either the first, 1855, version or the last 1892, “deathbed,” version.  You can identify the 1892 version by the first line: “I celebrate myself, and sing myself” (which is slightly different in the 1855 version).

The text is also available online, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45477/song-of-myself-1892-version

There are 52 sections to the poem so we need lots of readers or readers who are willing to read more than one section; some sections are relatively short, but section 33 is a multi-page monster so it needs someone who is used to and good at reading in public.  If you have a section(s) that you would like to read, email Dan and he will put you on the schedule; also, if you know you want to read email Dan and he will add you.  Otherwise he can add folks to the list when they sign-on to the reading, but if you email in advance it will ease the sign-in process.  dwlcx@earthlink.net

Please use the Chat feature on Zoom (which allows you to message a single person or all the participants) to let Dan know that you are available to read when you sign-on and he will use it during the reading to alert you to when your turn is coming up.  Also, remember to mute your audio when you sign on and during the reading.


Here is the Zoom invitation:

Topic: Walt Whitman Birthday Reading
Time: May 31, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 810 1621 7786
Password: 525071
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