Announcing Hua Xi as “Poets To Come” Scholar

The Gwenn A. Nusbaum / WWBA Poets To Come Scholarship Committee has selected Hua Xi (they/she) as the 2022 Scholarship recipient. Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA) founded the Gwenn A. Nusbaum / WWBA “Poets To Come” Scholarship Award. This $1500 scholarship is offered in the spirit of Walt Whitman’s poem, “Poets to Come: POETS to come! / Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,/ But you, a new brood…/Leaving it to you to prove and define it,/Expecting the main things from you.”

During the scholarship year, Hua plans to publish a first chapbook of poetry and finish a first poetry book manuscript.  Hua is interested in the mind and its internal languages, and writes about ways “we internally process the pain of the world.  The interior world can be as vast as the actual one, a place where things happen both forwards and backwards, simultaneously and years apart, where everything is true but nothing is real.”

This event has a $5 suggested donation:

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Date: Thursday, June 23, 2022
Start Time: 7:00 pm EST
Suggested Donation: $ 5

Intersection of Poet Jupiter Hammon & Long Island History

WWBA collaborates with community members to interpret Jupiter Hammon’s poetry in historical contexts. Hammon (1711-ca. 1806) is known as a founder of African-American literature. Born into slavery, Hammon published his first poem, “An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries,” at 50 years of age. He gained wide circulation and used his Christian biblical foundation to criticize the institution of slavery. Robert Hughes, Huntington Town Historian, discusses his book “Slavery in Huntington and its Abolition.”  Lauren Brincat, Curator of Preservation Long Island (PLI), discusses their major initiative to interpret Hammon’s life while enslaved at the Joseph Lloyd Manor house in Lloyd Harbor. Poet David Mills discusses Jupiter Hammon, the man and the poet, and reads his own poetry.

This event has a $5 suggested donation:

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Date: Sunday, June 12, 2022
Start Time: 1:30 pm EST
Suggested Donation: $ 5

Intersections of the Harlem Renaissance and Langston Hughes

As part of our Intersections: African American Voices of Democracy Series, WWBA welcomes creative scholars to discuss the poetry, life, and legacy of Langston Hughes and connections to poetry by Walt Whitman. Presenters include educator, dancer, and singer Peter Brooks and educator and author Ivy Wilson.

Hughes (1901-1967) wrote his famous poem, “I, Too” which demonstrates a yearning for equality through perseverance and which helped define the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the early 1920s and ’30s of newfound cultural identity for the Black community in America who had discovered the power of literature, art, music, and poetry as a means of personal and collective expression in the scope of civil rights. Hughes ties together this sense of the unity of the separate and diverse parts of the American democracy by beginning his poem with a near direct reference to Walt Whitman’s poem, “I Hear America Singing.” At the same time, Hughes makes Walt Whitman – his literary hero – more explicitly political with his assertion, “I, too, sing America.” (

Peter Brooks is an educator, dancer, singer and marketing professional. Cab Calloway’s grandson, Brooks speaks on how African American artists created the Harlem Renaissance and how the “golden age” of culture may help overcome problems and obstacles faced by students in current cultural and political climates, and become active participants in the democratic process.

Ivy Wilson (Ph.D. Yale University) teaches courses on the comparative literatures of the Black diaspora and U.S. literary studies with a particular emphasis on African American culture. Author of Whitman Noir, Wilson “explores the meaning of Black and blackness in Whitman’s imagination and, equally significant, also illuminates the aura of Whitman in African American letters from Langston Hughes to June Jordan, Margaret Walker to Yusef Komunyaka. The essays address questions of literary history, the textual interplay between author and narrator, and race and poetic influence.” (Univ. of Iowa Press). He interrogates how the tropes of blackness were used to regulate the cultural meanings of U.S. citizenship.

This event has a $5 suggested donation:

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Sponsored by HNY SHARP Action Grant

Date: Sunday, May 22, 2022
Start Time: 1:30 pm EST
Suggested Donation: $ 5

I Love My Park Day

Help the “Leaves of Grass” grow! Roll up your sleeves and participate in outdoor spring cleanup of the Walt Whitman Birthplace, as part of a statewide initiative to maintain parks. Walk-ins welcome. Rain date: May 21st. Bring your own gardening tools. Lunch, Birthplace tours, and free t-shirt provided.

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Date: Saturday, May 21, 2022
Start Time: 10:00 am EST

2022 Student Poetry Awards

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association is delighted to announce our 36th annual Student Poetry Contest. 2022 Poet-In-Residence Natasha Trethewey will officiate the afternoon.


Category Name Poem School
Category A Riya Golia “The Joy Flower” The Laurel Hill School
Category B Alicia DiGiambattista “Realization & Renewal” Great Hollow Middle School
Category C Charlotte Huang “Amongst the Fire” W.T. Clarke Middle School
Category D Chloe Lin “Lessons in Farming” Herricks High School
Category E Thisbe Wu “Shrooms” Saint Anne’s School
Category F Ruby Standfast “A New Leaf” Dogwood Elementary School
Category G Mrs. Miolan “A New Chapter” Centre Avenue Elementary School
Category H Mrs. C. Loiacono “New Season, New Beginnings, New Hope” HB Mattlin Middle School
Category I Mrs. Prymaczek “Poems of Renewal” Hillside Grade School
Category J Mrs. Wallace “A Time for Renewal Vol. 3 gr 8 pd 6” Mt. Sinai Middle School
Category K Mr. Graham Otton “Once Again” New Hyde Park High School
Category L Dr. Deirdre Faughey “Wonder Once Hiding Within” Oyster Bay High School
Category M Violet LeClaire, Emily Gorecki, Jordan Logue “Phoenix” Walt Whitman High School

Date: Sunday, May 15, 2022
Start Time: 12:00 pm EST

2022 Poet-in-Residence Natasha Trethewey

WWBA is delighted to share the distinguished voice of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Natasha Trethewey.  She was appointed United Stated Poet Laureate in 2012 and 2013. In her second term as United States Poet Laureate, Trethewey’s signature project was a PBS NewsHour Poetry Series, “Where Poetry Lives.” In this series, Trethewey traveled with Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown to cities across the United States in order to explore societal issues such as Alzheimer’s, domestic abuse, the civil rights movement, and incarcerated teenagers—all through the prism of poetry, literature, and Trethewey’s own personal experiences.

Natasha Trethewey’s most recent book, Memorial Drive (2020) is a chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy.
“Her poems dig beneath the surface of history—personal or communal, from childhood or from a century ago—to explore the human struggles that we all face.”
-Librarian of Congress James Billington

$10 Registration for Moderated Discussion, which includes admission to the Evening Poetry Reading:

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$10 Registration for both events

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Evening Poetry Reading:


Trethewey is the author of Monument (2018), which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award, a retrospective drawing together verse that delineates the stories of working class African American women, one of the first black Civil War regiments, mestizo and mulatto figures in Casta paintings, Gulf coast victims of Katrina; Thrall (2012), which the Washington Post called “a powerful, beautifully crafted book”; Native Guard (2007), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association; and Domestic Work (2000), which was selected by Rita Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Trethewey is also the author of the poetry chapbook Congregation (2015) and the prose book Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2012), and she served as editor of The Best American Poetry 2017. She is also the author of the memoir Memorial Drive (2020).
Among her many honors, Trethewey is the recipient of the 2020 Bobbitt Prize for Lifetime Achievement, a 2017 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities category, as well as the 2016 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, which recognizes distinguished poetic achievement. In the judge’s citation, Marilyn Nelson stated: “Natasha Trethewey’s poems plumb personal and national history to meditate on the conundrum of American racial identities. Whether writing of her complex family torn by tragic loss, or in diverse imagined voices from the more distant past, Trethewey encourages us to reflect, learn, and experience delight. The wide scope of her interests and her adept handling of form have created an opus of classics both elegant and necessary.
This event is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and is administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc. 

Date: Saturday, May 14, 2022
Start Time: 7:00 pm EST
$10 Registration

Walking With Whitman with Diane Frank

Friday May 6th, Walking With Whitman will feature publisher Diane Frank of Blue Light Press and the new anthology NYC FROM THE INSIDE, featuring 179 poets and 360 pages of poetry. The anthology has been called a landmark collection for American poetry in the 21rst century, includes numerous winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Guggenheim Fellowship and other major awards, and was edited by Walt Whitman writer in residence George Wallace.

Date: Friday, May 6, 2022
Start Time: 7:00 pm EST

WWBA’s Long Island Poet of the Year 2022: Matt Pasca.

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association’s 2022 Long Island Poet of the Year – Matt Pasca.

Each year, WWBA honors a notable Long Island poet as WWBA Long Island Poet of the Year. The qualifications for this award are that the poet be a distinguished and well-respected poet who champions poetry through their writing, teaching, and support of the Long Island community of poets.

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MATT PASCA is a poet, teacher and traveler who believes in art’s ability to foster discovery, empathy and justice. He has authored two poetry collections – A Thousand Doors (2011 Pushcart nominee) and Raven Wire (2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist) – and is named 2022 Long Island Poet of the Year by the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. Matt serves as Assistant Poetry Editor of 2 Bridges Review and as adviser to The Writers’ Block, thrice awarded “Most Outstanding High School Literary-Art Magazine” by the American Scholastic Press Association. A 2003 New York State Teacher of Excellence, Pasca has taught Poetry, Mythology and IB English at Bay Shore High School for 25 years. He is currently at work on his third poetry collection, entitled Traitor.

Date: Saturday, April 9, 2022
Start Time: 4:30 pm EST

Walking With Whitman featuring Martin Espada, Denis Gray, and Josie Bello

Another installment of Walking With Whitman featured Martin Espada, Denis Gray, and Josie Bello.

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Date: Friday, April 1, 2022
Start Time: 7:00 pm EST
Suggested Donation: $ 5