May 30, 2019
Happy Birthday, Walt Whitman!
by Christina Cerio
In honor of Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday this Friday (May 31), I originally wanted to write 200 different ways to remember and celebrate him. After staring my list, I thought about the short attention span of readers online and realized most people will probably read to number 5 at the most and not read anything until number 198, leaving numbers 6 through 197 a complete waste of time on my part. So instead, I will list 5 ways to celebrate. If you are disappointed that you can’t read 200 ways, you could just re-read the list below many times.
1. Whitman Beard and Mustache Competition, hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library at Fort Greene Park Monument Steps on June 8th from 12PM-3PM. Competitors are invited to enter in one of the following categories:
- Barbaric Yawp – (Best Natural Moustache)
- Leaves of Grass – (Best Natural Beard)
- Song of Myself – (Best Costume Beard)
- Sea Drift – (Best Styled Beard)
- Flag of My Disposition – (Best Styled Moustache)
- Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking – (Best Kids Beard)
- The Sleepers – (Best Teen Beard)
- The Good Gray Poet – (Best in Show)
2. Readings of “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” at all 59 branches of the Brooklyn Public Library on May 31st from 3:30PM-5:00PM. During these readings, singers will perform music from Walt Whitman’s era at Albee Square.
3. Legacy tour of Walt Whitman’s House Historic site in Camden, NJ on May 22 – June 9
Wednesday – Saturday, 10AM-11:30AM, 1:30PM-3PM, and Sunday 1:30PM-3PM. The legacy tours will focus on the work that Whitman created while living in Camden.
4. The Library of Congress “By the People” historical document digitization project, if you’d like to celebrate from your couch. Whitman geeks will help transcribe, tag and review Whitman’s writings and papers to make them accessible and searchable online.
5. Read Specimen Days and Collect, a collection of Walt Whitman’s notes, essays and diary entries, published by your favorite publishing house. BONUS: This week only, take 30% off! Use the code WALT200 at checkout.
Christina Cerio is the Manager of Direct Sales & Special Projects at Melville House.