Established in 2010 as a celebration of Whitman’s aesthetic and vision and how they impact contemporary poetics, art, and society, Walt Whitman 150 is a Portland, Oregon-based organization that strives to create powerful and unique biennial events that both honor Whitman’s legacy and produce new work inspired by it.
In 2010, 52 poets converged at the Pacific Northwest College of Art to read Song of Myself in its entirety. Each voice provided a distinct perspective from which to approach Whitman’s seminal work. Each reading style uniquely enhanced Whitman’s all-embracing vision. The Northwest’s poetic community joined together for a night-long celebration that brought both poetry and inspiration to a packed crowd.
In 2013, Tabor Space has donated its beautiful venue to the organization. The upcoming Walt Whitman 150 event aims to reach beyond “The Good Grey Bard” by focusing on new creative works inspired by his legacy. The event itself will include poets sharing their work alongside the Whitman poems or sections that inspired them, in a true timeless meeting of old and new. In addition, visual art inspired by Whitman will also be solicited and sold at the event. The best work submitted to Walt Whitman 150 will be included in a limited-edition chapbook, distributed locally and nationally.
Directors: David Cooke, A. Molotkov, and John Sibley Williams
Founder: David Oates