Whitman at 200



We Contain Multitudes: Celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th Birthday

with Poetry, Song, and Cake

May 31, 2019

at Philadelphia City Hall


Welcome from Emcees Lamont Dixon and Adam Teterus, aka Flirt Vonnegut

11:05am—Opening Program Remarks

·         Kelly Lee—Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia

·         Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney presents a proclamation

·         Will Noel—Associate Vice Provost for Special Collections & External Strategic Partnerships at Penn Libraries

· Siobhan Reardon—President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia

11:25am—Musical Performance: New Songs of the Open Road

·         Taylor “Toby VEnT” Martin and company—­lead singer and lyricist of VEnT, an alternative rock/soul band, perform selections from New Songs of the Open Road

11:35am—Reading: Whitman Favorites

·         Nate Johnstone—youth reader from Penn Alexander School

·         David Acosta—co-founder of Casa de Duende reads Whitman in English and Spanish translation

·         Eleanor Wilner—poet, graduate faculty, MFA Program at Warren Wilson College 

·         Leonard Gontarek­—poet and poetry consultant for Whitman at 200

11:45am—Reading: “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”

·         Margot Berg—Public Art Director, Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy

·         Drew Miller—poet and winner of the “Write Like Walt Haiku Contest”

·         Lynn Levin—poet, writer, translator, Professor of English at Penn and Drexel Universities

·         James Feichthaler—poet

12:00pm—1:00pm—Special Guest Emcee Tamala Edwards, 6ABC

12:00pm—Special Guest Performance

·         Special guests Patti Smith and Jesse Paris Smith

12:10pm-2:00pm—Birthday cupcakes available from The Fancy Crumb!

12:10pm—Reading: “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”

·         Andrew Nurkin—Deputy Director, Enrichment and Civic Engagement, Free Library of Philadelphia

·         Susan Stewart—poet, critic, translator, and Professor of English at Princeton University

·         Harry Stoneback—academic, poet, and folk singer

·         Joanne Leva—author and poet

12:20pm—Musical Performance: Contradict This!

·         John Jarboe and company—director, performer, curator, and writer for The Bearded Ladies Cabaret performing a selection from Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes

12:35pm—Reading: Whitman in the World

·         Mary Tasillo—a printer—Manager of the Common Press at University of Pennsylvania

·         John Timpane—a journalist—books/fine arts editor/writer for the Inquirer

·         Elizabeth Gilbert—a nurse—former nurse and physicians assistant in medical oncology at University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center

·         Joel Fry—an observer of nature—curator at Bartram’s Garden

12:45pm—Reading: Democratic Vistas

·         Charlotte Boulay—author and poet

·         Thomas Devaney—author, poet, Assistant Professor of English at Haverford College

·         Eileen D’Angelo—Director of the Mad Poets Society

·         Charles Carr—poet and host of PhillyCAM

1:00pm—Musical Performance: Oscar Visits Walt

·         Andrew Boyask and Caleb J. Tracy perform a selection from the upcoming performance Oscar Visits Walt, accompanied by writer/composer Tom Wilson Weinberg on keyboard

1:10pm—Reading: “I Sing the Body Electric”

·         Michelle Myers—social justice spoken word poet

·         Cassie MacDonald—Program Coordinator, Camden FireWorks and Hearthkeeper, Brigid’s House Camden

·         Lamont Steptoe—poet, photographer and publisher

·         Kathy Volk Miller—Co-editor of Painted Bride Quarterly, director of the graduate program in Publishing, director of the Drexel Publishing Group, and a teaching professor at Drexel University

·         Rocky Wilson—Whitman interpreter, enthusiast, teacher, and winner of the Whitman “Look-Alike” contest

1:25pm—Reading: “Song of the Open Road”

·         James Osby Gwathney Jr.—Bass vocalist for Opera Philadelphia reciting  selections from Whitman’s “Poem of the Open Road,” to be  heard at the upcoming performance of , RiverRoad

·         Horace Furnace High School students perform Whitman

1:35pm—Reading: Whitman and the Kosmos

·         Elizabeth Scanlon—Editor, American Poetry Review

·         Thom Nickels-- author/journalist, poet, and travel writer

·         Alicia Askenase—poet and educator

·         Nathalie Anderson—Professor of Victorian, Modern, and Contemporary Poetry and director of Program in Creative Writing at Swarthmore College, award-winning poet and librettist

1:45pm—Reading: “Song of Myself” (Last Verses)

·         Judith Tannenbaum—contemporary art curator and Artistic Director of Whitman at 200

·         Lynne Farrington—Senior Curator for Special Collections at University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center, Project Director of Whitman at 200

1:50pm—Whitman Call and Response: YAWP!

·         Lamont Dixon with audience participation