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RFLOL Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman Invitation

The basics: the first meeting of the RFLOL (Reading Fine Literature Out Loud) Club will be June 25 at my house. In honor of the 154th anniversary (on July 4) of the publication of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” let’s stage a marathon reading of the 1855 edition of “Song of Myself.” We will drink beer. Barbaric yawps will be sounded over the roof of the world. In that order. Get in touch if you want more details.

An aside: I am an idea machine with no off switch. Generally the ideas are pretty good as long as somebody not me is in charge of making them happen. Sometimes they are very bad, like the text message I recently sent Dave and Kate, proposing, casually but sincerely, that we start our own small town. Most of the ideas are fleeting, flowing back into the spiritus mundi like water spritzed into the wind. A few ideas, however, can’t be shaken and must be pursued or rejected outright.

The RFLOL Club is one of the latter. I talked with some of you last January about doing a table reading of a Shakespeare play. In February, in honor of his 200th birthday, and when three or four of us were reading “Team of Rivals,” I suggested we kick off the club with Abraham Lincoln’s speeches. I considered doing the same thing (Lincoln’s speeches) in April to mark the anniversary of Lincoln’s death. Dave and I were going to memorize the Gettysburg Address. Nothing happened, but the idea persisted. It was a sticker.

The RFLOL Club should be a lot of fun. Sorry it took me so long to follow through.

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3 comments on “RFLOL Walt Whitman

  1. RFLOL is going to sweep the nation.

  2. I so wish you lived near me! (Or vice versa.) Great idea. I just saw or heard something about reading out loud the other day, too … I wish I could remember where. In any case, if you haven’t read it you, you should check out the essay “Can Poetry Matter” (by Dana Gioia). You might find a bit of a kindred spirit there, at least in some of his suggestions for revitalizing poetry.

  3. Anna,

    Thanks for the link. It’s a great essay that I read once before, a long time ago. It was good to read it again. There was also an article recently in the New York Times in May called “Some Thoughts on the Lost Art of Reading Out Loud.”

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