James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Singing Leaves of Grass

San Franciscans had the pleasure of listening to attorney Daniel Redman bring forth Walt Whitman's pioneering expression of male companion love, as he sang the first chapter of Leaves of Grass before a mesmerized audience of nearly 80. The Library is celebrating 150 years since the publication of Whitman's Calamus Poems with an exhibition in the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center called "Paths Untrodden: Walt Whitman's Calamus Poems and the The Radical Faeries". The exhibition, which runs through May 19, 2011, was curated by local researcher and historian Joey Cain. There are photographs of Walt Whitman and his contempories.

Daniel Redman sang passionately in a melody influenced by his Jewish roots. Some who were listening were reminded of Bar Mitzvah's attended in youth, while another commented Whitman's words seemed to be brought forth as Irish seafaring song. When Redman was asked
about recording his music, he mused on the possibility of different chapters of the long poem being sung by Queer people from other cultural backgrounds. He described LGBT life as being a diasporic culture, wherever we are is our Jerusalem........LGBT true home is in the heart.

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