“I Contain Multitudes”: A Celebration of Walt Whitman


Three dynamic voices celebrate Walt Whitman, read favorite passages

of his work, as well as their own poems, and speak about his profound

influence on poets writing in both English and Spanish.

GALWAY KINNEL has been a major figure in American poetry for three decades. His Selected Poems was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. In his introduction to The Essential Whitman, Kinnell acknowledges Whitman as his “principal master,” and critics have noted Kinnell’s Whitmanesque cadences, transcendental philosophy, and personal intensity.

MARTÍN ESPADA, author of seven prize-winning poetry collections, has been hailed as “the Latino poet of his generation.” Espada’s work is often described as a poetry of advocacy; the poems speak, as Whitman’s do, “for the rights of them the others are down upon.” Espada, who will read a few Whitman selections in Spanish, is also an essayist, translator, and political activist, of whom Russell Banks declared: “his ambition and his achievement remind us of Whitman, where it all begins.”

KATE RUSHIN‘s teaching and readings over the past two decades reflect her commitment to the songs of everyday people. Like Whitman, she hears “America singing”; like Langston Hughes, she is “the darker [sister],” who takes readers with her into “the kitchen,” honoring the women who work there nourishing family, community, society. Rushin is author of The Black Back-Ups and the forthcoming Camden Sweet, Lawnside Blues.