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Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy

  • University of Pennsylvania Bookstore 3601 Walnut Street, 19104 (map)
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The Penn Bookstore celebrates Walt Whitman's 200th Birthday with a reading From Leaves of Grass.

Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy is organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday on Friday, May 31st, 2019 provides an important opportunity to reassess his estimable contributions to American life at a time when our country is so polarized. Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, is a region-wide series of cultural events. It consists of four new artistic commissions, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, plus a multitude of innovative exhibitions, performances, and programs initiated in partnership with organizations across the Philadelphia/Camden region. While events take place all year, there is a focus on the two-week period, between May 24 and June 9, 2019, around Whitman's birthday.
Whitman lived through and reflected on a period of uncertainty and change in American politics, culture, and society that in many ways mirrors our own. By underscoring the role of art and poetry in our lives and the particular relevance of Whitman today as a model for civic engagement, this multifaceted project will explore how understanding our past can inform our present and, more importantly, our future. Most Philadelphians are also unaware that Whitman spent the last two decades of his life in Camden, New Jersey, although the longest suspension bridge spanning the Delaware River is named for him in recognition of his importance to the region. He frequently traveled by ferry to spend time with friends and enjoy Philadelphia’s cultural life. This project situates Whitman in both Camden and Philadelphia and their neighborhoods, connecting him to the life and art of these cities and exploring what Camden and Philadelphia were then, and are now.
If you are interested in joining our reading please call the Penn Bookstore for information and to sign up.