Top US poet visits Bolton
A LEADING US poet visited Bolton to view a display in honour of a pioneering writer.
George Wallace visited Bolton Museum to see its Walt Whitman display and archive collections.
Whitman is known as one of America’s best poets — a robust and flamboyant figure in mid-19th century America, known for his 1855 work Leaves of Grass.
At the time the poem was published, a group of fans began to meet in Eagle Street, Bolton, to discuss his work and ideas, which resulted in a close relationship between the Bolton Whitman fellowship and Whitman’s friends in the US.
Mr Wallace, currently Poet in Residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace in New York, said: “I was delighted to see first hand the Whitman-related materials maintained by the Bolton Museum.
“The connection between Bolton and West Hills, Long Island, goes back more than 100 years to a pilgrimage by Whitman devotees to the poet’s birthplace. That's a unique cultural, historical and literary relationship, which I'm pleased to have added a chapter to, through this visit with the Bolton Museum and with the Bank Street writers.”
He presented Walking with Whitman, a lecture, reading and creative writing workshop to members of Bolton’s Bank Street Writers group, at Bank Street Unitarian Chapel.
Mr Wallace, who was Long Island’s first poet laureate from 2003 to 2005, and Geraldine Green, poet and writer in residence at Swarthmoor Hall, Ulverston, met with Julie Lamara, the museum’s collections access officer for local studies.
She showed them the Whitman display which includes Whitman’s stuffed canary, based on the poem My Canary Bird.
They then viewed items in the archives including old letters, correspondence between the Bolton Whitman fellowship and the US, photographs and printing blocks.
Mr Wallace added: “I want to thank Dr Geraldine Green for arranging this visit and, of course, Julie Lamara for her generosity and hospitality in viewing the collection.”
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