Posted on May 31, 2019 at 12:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Today marks the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth.

If you’re in New York City anytime soon, there are three major exhibitions that celebrate the poet; if you can’t make it there, the New York Times details several Whitman artifacts that are on display in them.

Over in Camden, Pennsylvania — where Whitman lived at the end of his life and is buried — the festivities are a bit more nuanced.

Of course there are celebratory events, such as walking tours, art exhibitions, and poetry readings.

But there’s also an original musical about Whitman that dives into the poet’s racist leanings.

“I wanted it to be a birthday, a funeral, and a trial all in one, so you get a sense of how complicated it is dealing with our ancestors,” said John Jarboe, the director of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, which wrote the musical.

“Sometimes you want to put them to rest, sometimes call them out, sometimes celebrate them, sometimes all at the same time.”

Categories: Today in Books

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