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Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center

Walking with Whitman:Poetry in Performance Featuring Mary Jo Bang and Maxwell Wheat

Saturday, May 4, 2013
7:00 - 9:00

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association is pleased to present the third season of its signature series Walking with Whitman: Poetry in Performance, a series of performances and presentations by some of the most intriguing figures in contemporary literature and the arts on the national scene, paired with respected voices on the regional scene. The series is hosted by Walt Whitman Birthplace Writer-in-Residence George Wallace.

This year WWBA is offering an optional poetry writing workshop series:

Writing with Whitman:Poetry Workshops

Workshops will take place on the afternoons of the evening reading from 3 - 5 PM. The workshops will be conducted by the evening reading's regional poet and will give participants at all levels an opportunity for a more shared experience of poetry.


Saturday, March 2 (7-9 PM)

featuring Mary Jo Bang

with Maxwell Wheat

"Meet the Poets" Reception at 6:15 PM

Mary Jo Bang MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Apology for Want (1997), which received the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize; Louise in Love (2001); The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans (2001); Elegy (2007), which won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award; and The Bride of E (2009). She is currently at work on a translation of Dante’s Inferno.

Bang discussed her circuitous route to professional poet—including years of working as a professional photographer and physician’s assistant—with the journal 99 Percent: “I could see myself getting closer and closer,” she said of her years learning photography. “Over time, what was on the film and the photographic paper more and more resembled what I’d imagined when I looked into the viewfinder. And I saw how, if you steadily worked at something, what you don’t know gradually erodes and what you do know slowly grows and at some point you’ve gained a degree of mastery. What you know becomes what you are. You know photography and you are a photographer. You know writing and you are a writer.”

Bang has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bellagio Foundation, and a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. She has received a “Discovery”/The Nation award, a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have been included in multiple editions of The Best American Poetry. The editor of the Boston Review from 1995-2005, she is currently a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.


For his teaching and writing work Maxwell Corydon Wheat Jr. received in 1980 the first Herman Melville Annual Award from the New York State Marine Education Association whose journal, "Ripples," he edited for many years. In November he was given the Art and Literary Award of the New York State Outdoor Education Association, whose former journal, "The Communicator," he co-edited. He is a teacher for Taproot Workshops, Inc., writing for people 55 and older. Spring and fall he teaches a Continuing Education course Monday nights for the Farmingdale schools, "You Can Write Poetry!"

Mr Wheat has taken his seventh and eighth grade students in the Farmingdale Public Schools on writing field trips to Long Island’s salt marshes in Fire Island National Seashore and Robert Moses and Caumset State Parks. For three years he has conducted an October salt marsh (when the marsh’s Spartina grasses turn golden) round-robin participatory poetry reading program at Cedarmere, Roslyn Harbor, home of the 19th Century poet, William Cullen Bryant, where he volunteers in programming.

Mr. Wheat will be conducting a poetry writing workshop as part of the Writing with Whitman series from 3-5 PM in the Interpretive Center.

Workshop Topic: The Art of Revision
Session starts with the writing of a nature poem following a short poem’s structure: Lead, Build-up, Kicker or Soft-shoe Tap ending. Revising follows with attention to writing  techniques: removing Bland-Space Occupiers—words or groups of words taking up space but offering nothing to the poem’s effect.  We will work with power input techniques:  Hanging Words Slice-off,  Freight Train Coupling, Unexpectedly  Placed  Words, etc. Will think about writing issues: Modifiers, Conjunctions, Interjections, Past or Present Tenses.

Mr. Wheat will be conducting a poetry writing workshop as part of the Writing with Whitman series from 3-5 PM in the Interpretive Center.

For series or individual tickets call 631-427-5240 ext. 115

purchase tickets online

Walking with Whitman: Poetry in Performance:
Reading Event Tickets  $10     

Or attend the evening reading along with the writing workshop:

Reading with Workshop  $15    

Tickets for individual events are also available at the door.


Walking with Whitman: Poetry in Performance

2013 Season of Readings


Writing with Whitman: Poetry Writing Workshops

2013 Season of Workshops

This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. with public funds from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.