Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Walt Whitman was beat, man

Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman have more in common than impressive beards.

This month, academics will explore the esteemed poet’s influence on the Beat Generation in such areas as sexual identity, power and politics, media, technology and art, notions of time and space, and poetic form and style.

The influence of Brooklyn’s favorite son can even be seen in such non-poetic products such as the TV show “M*A*S*H,” organizers say.

“We hope to break new ground in addressing Whitman’s presence in the works of Beat writers and the reception of Whitman’s poetry by the Beats,” said Scott Weiss, co-chairman of the conference and a professor of Communication Arts at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.

“Our panelists will explore, in depth, how the legacy of the Beats, their perspectives of their era and artistic innovations can be traced to Whitman’s influence on American literary culture.”

In addition to the conference, a walking tour will bring you through Whitman’s Brooklyn, as he knew it living here more than 100 years ago. You dig?

Whitman & Beats Conference at St. Francis College [180 Remsen St. between Clinton and Court streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 489-5200], March 27 at noon. The walking tour is March 28, also at noon. For info, visit


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