You’ve heard of Throwback Thursday…
You’ve heard of Follow Friday…
Now it’s time for something even better…
In honor of Walt Whitman,
the “poet of the people” whose writing serves as the basis for I and You,
Lauren Gunderson’s play currently running in the Nextstage here at Geva,
the literary department decrees today Whitman Wednesday…
Woohoo! Nothing like some quality time with good ol’ Walt.
How does one celebrate Whitman Wednesday?
3 Steps: LOOK – WATCH – LISTEN
With fun things from the internet, of course…
Step 1: LOOK (at Walt)
We start with young Walt and a little bit of a beard. As he got older, the beard got longer… and longer… Just like Leaves of Grass: It started with 12 poems, but contained nearly 200 by his death.
Wonder how many times Whitman says anything besides “you,” “I,” or “myself” in Leaves of Grass?
This “word cloud” illustrates the frequency of word usage through size.
Walt Whitman is apparently tweeting the entirety of Leaves of Grass line by line from “under your boot-soles.”
The most recently posted line: “Far from the settlements studying the print of animals’ feet, or the moccasin print;”
Read on at @TweetsofGrass https://twitter.com/tweetsofgrass
Step 2: WATCH (for Walt)
A fascinating clip from the PBS American Experience documentary on Whitman:
Levi’s Jeans also seems to be all about making commercials out of his poems. The commercials do come out quite cool.
“America” by Walt Whitman
“Pioneers! O Pioneers!” by Walt Whitman
And we can’t forget the classic YAWP scene from the film Dead Poets Society…
Step 3: LISTEN (to Walt)
Because Walt tells it how it is.
James Earl Jones reads “Song of Myself,” the poem featured in I and You.
And I saved the best for last… Here is a surviving recording of Whitman, reading his poem “America.”
How can you keep celebrating Whitman Wednesday?
Here’s some life advice from the man himself,
stemming right out of Earth Day yesterday:
“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men – go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families – re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.” (“Preface,” Leaves of Grass)
And… though I know Whitman gave you a lot to get done…
Come check out the final week of performances of I and You in the Nextstage!