© The University of Bolton, English and Creative Writing 2019

23-24 May 2019

-

University of Bolton
& Bolton Central Library

In commemoration of poet Walt Whitman's 200th birthday, and to celebrate Bolton as the centre of interest for Whitman scholars and readers, this two-day conference will explore new critical ways of thinking about Whitman. Its vision is to provide contexts and connections developing from Whitman's influence and ideas in the 19th century through to the modern era - particularly as they relate to ideas of community and identity.
The Bolton Whitmanites formed in the mid-1880s as a reading and cultural society. Their papers, letters to and from Whitman, as well as a selection of Whitmania, are held at the Bolton Library Museum - the largest collection related to Whitman outside the US. Whitman's bicentenary presents a unique opportunity to consider the influence, social and cultural value of his poetic shapes and forms - and even his prose - today. As a pivotal voice reimagining a new and transformative democracy, a re-evaluation of Whitman's work is now more pertinent than ever.
With the rise of nationalism, and the divisive nature of current political ideologies, the voice of Whitman and reflection of an idealised, democratic American identity, may seem far removed. How can there be a national poet in our divided era, we might ask. How can such a poet produce work that contains multitudes and yet speak without alienating? And how can Whitman's 19th century kosmos (itself at times contradictory) speak to us today? Listening to Whitman's voice, we hope to reconsider the answers that exist.
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Dr Kirsten Harris

University of Warwick

Prof Michael Schmidt

Universities of Bolton,
Manchester, and Cambridge

Don Share

Poetry Foundation

EVENTS

Desire, Love, Identity: Exploring
LGBTQ histories

14th Mar - 26th May

Bolton Library and Museum
FREE ENTRY

Walt Whitman and his Bolton friends

Tue 30th Apr: 7.30pm

Bolton Train Station: Plat. 5
FREE ENTRY

Write Out Loud: Whitman Special

Sun 19th May: 8pm

Bolton Socialist Club
£1 (plus raffle)

Walt Whitman's Bolton

Fri 31st May: 1.30pm

Bolton Library and Museum
FREE ENTRY

Desire, Love, Identity: Poetry Evening

14th Mar - 29th May

Bolton Library and Museum
FREE ENTRY

Spirits Whose Work Is Done

Fri 10th May: 8pm

Bolton Socialist Club
£3 suggested donation

History of Modern Whitman Walks

Fri 24th May: 8pm

Bolton Socialist Club
FREE ENTRY

Annual Whitman Walk

Sat 1st Jun: 2pm

Barrow Bridge
FREE ENTRY

Whitman and Moran: Long Island Landscapes

13th Apr - 21st Jul

Bolton Library and Museum
FREE ENTRY

Wood St Writer's Anthology Launch

Sat 11th May: 2pm

Bolton Socialist Club
FREE ENTRY

International Whitman Conference

23rd - 24th May

University of Bolton
Prices Vary

I Sing the Body Eclectic: An Evening with Walt's Legacy

Sat 1st Jun: 2pm

Bolton Socialist Club
FREE ENTRY

The Whitman Connection

Fri 26th Apr: 1pm

Bolton Library and Museum
FREE ENTRY

Red Cinema Presents: Whitman Alabama

Thur 16th May: 7.30pm

Bolton Socialist Club

FREE ENTRY

Adhesion of Love by Stephen M Hornby

Fri 31st May: 7.30pm

Bolton Socialist Club
£10 (on the door)

Unitarian Service

Sun 2nd Jun

Unitarian Chapel, Rivington
FREE ENTRY