Walt Whitman is no doubt one of America’s most famous poets. He is well-known for his collection of poems, Leaves of Grass. Whitman was also a journalist, and he volunteered at hospitals during the Civil War. His experience in hospitals led Whitman to publish Drum-Taps. Although Whitman died in 1892, his work lives on in poetry, and his persona is brought back to life with David S. Taylor’s first person interpretation.
On Sunday, October 16, David S. Taylor will visit the Pennington Public Library as Walt Whitman. This event will take place at 3:00. Whitman will present his life story to his audience while also retelling American history. Throughout the performance, Taylor will remain in character and will answer any of the audience’s questions as Whitman.
Besides portraying Whitman, Taylor has also been a first person impersonator for historical figures such as Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Taylor works with the American Historical Theatre.
Last winter, the Pennington Public Library held a similar event where Peyton Dixon impersonated Theodore Roosevelt.
When asked about Dixon’s performance, library director Kim T. Ha said, “The event was a huge success! Dixon came in character and remained that way the entire time, entertaining, educating, and amazing us with his knowledge. Many participants left completely satisfied and we hope that Walt Whitman will garner a similarly positive response.”
The Pennington Public Library hopes that audiences will gain a better understanding of history and literature through Whitman’s performance. Libraries are a center for education, and Taylor’s performance is a less traditional (but more exciting) approach for audiences to learn about historical figures.
Come join us on Sunday, October 16 to meet Walt Whitman! No registration is necessary. In November, the Pennington Public Library continues its programs in history with Unsung Heroines: The Role of Women in the American Civil War with presenter Martin Mosho. Stay tuned for more details.
This program is produced by the American Historical Theatre, a nonprofit organization specializing in first-person living history presentations. It is funded by the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.