Friday, October 7, 2011

Scholar Shares the Evolution of Whitman’s Poetry Through his “Biography” of Leaves of Grass


CHESTERTOWN, MD—Preeminent Walt Whitman scholar Ed Folsom will speak at the Rose O’Neill Literary House on Monday, October 24 at 4:30 p.m. In his talk, “Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: The Biography of a Book,” Folsom will present excerpts from a book-in-progress by the same title.

Folsom, editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and co-director of the digital Whitman Archive, is Roy J. Carver Professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa. Though his courses encompass nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, he has a particular passion for Whitman’s work.

“A Whitman poem feels like a living, growing thing,” says Folsom, whose upcoming Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: The Biography of a Book (under contract with The University of California Press), examines the many drastic changes the poet made to his work from its original publication in 1855 until his death.

Folsom received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for the research and writing of the book. He has been recognized with the University of Iowa’s President and Provost’s Teaching Award and has been named an outstanding faculty member by the Graduate College. He was a featured expert in the 2008 PBS documentary “Walt Whitman,” part of the network’s American Experience series, and has been an invited lecturer at the annual meetings of the American Literature Association.

Folsom’s lecture will be followed by an open house in the Print Shop with a demonstration by Master Printer Mike Kaylor. Both the lecture and the print shop event are free and open to the public. Sponsors are the Sophie Kerr Committee and the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

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