International Whitman Week and Symposium 2015: "Whitman and War Poetry"

The 8th International Whitman Week Seminar and Symposium 

Munich, Germany
July 27 - August 1, 2015

Founded in Paris in 2007, the Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association (TWWA) invites students, researchers, and Whitman enthusiasts to participate in its 8th annual Whitman Week, consisting of a Seminar for advanced students interested in Whitman and Whitman’s poetry, and a Symposium bringing together international scholars and graduate students. Previous Whitman Weeks have been held at Universität Dortmund, Germany (2008), Université Francois Rabelais, France (2009), Università di Macerata, Italy (2010), Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil (2011), Szczecin University, Poland (2012), Northwestern University, USA (2013), the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Germany (2014), and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany (2015). The Whitman Week 2016 will be held at the University of Exeter, England.

TWWA's Mission

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass remains a landmark of modern poetry and world literature. Every year new editions of Whitman’s work are published in a variety of languages; an ever- expanding group of poets “reply” to him in their poetry; his poems are set to music and are quoted in films; he is invoked in the discussion of political and cultural issues, as well as of gender and sexuality; and he continues to be a huge presence in college and university curricula globally. In order to respond adequately to this international phenomenon, TWWA sponsors a yearly International Whitman Seminar, during which students from different countries come together for an intensive, credit-bearing Seminar taught by an international team of Whitman specialists.

Seminar Structure 

In the morning classes, focusing on some of Whitman’s major poems and selections from his prose, students had an opportunity to confront Whitman’s books, share their readings of key poems and clusters, and discuss Whitman’s attempts at a multilingual English, his cohesive representation of human relations, and his work’s international significance. In addition, afternoon workshops were held on the reception of Whitman in various countries, as well as the translation of his poems into various languages, including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Asian languages.


The team of international instructors for 2015 consisted of:

Ed Folsom: Professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa; co-director of the online Whitman Archive; editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review; author, co-author and editor of over 20 Whitman-related books, including, most recently, Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas: A Facsimile of the Original Edition (2010), Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2007) co-authored with Kenneth M. Price, Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman (2005), and Whitman East and West: New Contexts for Reading Walt Whitman (2002);

Eric Athenot: Professor of American Literature and Translation studies at the Université Paris-Est Créteil (Upec), France. He has carried out the first French translation of the 1855 Leaves of Grass, and he will publish a translation of Whitman's An American Primer and Collect in 2015. He is the author of numerous articles on Whitman and the book Walt Whitman, poète-cosmos. He has taught and given lectures on Whitman all over the world and is one of the founders of the Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association.

Taylor Hagood: Associate Professor of American Literature at Florida Atlantic University; author of “Hair, Feet, Body, and Connectedness in 'Song of Myself'” (Walt Whitman Quarterly Review), “‘Nobody Knows but Me’: Jimmie Rodgers and the Body Politic” (Walking the Line: Country Lyricists and American Culture, ed. Thomas Alan Holmes and Roxanne Harde), and multiple publications on the literature and culture of the US South, African American literature, and the writing of William Faulkner.

Kerstin Schmidt: Professor of English and Chair of American Literature at the Catholic University of Eichstaett, Germany; her second book ms. on “Negative Space and the Making of Modern America: Concepts of Space in American Literature, Architecture, and Photography” presents an in-depth reading of concepts of space and place in Whitman's writing; other areas of expertise are modern/postmodern American drama and theater, ethnic literatures in the US and Canada; race and diaspora studies, media theory (esp. radio), and visual culture studies (esp. photography).


Students are expected to attend and invited to take part in the Symposium, held immediately following the Seminar, and featuring scholarly papers by Whitman scholars and graduate students from various countries. A separate paper proposal must be submitted in order to participate in the Symposium. The 2015 Symposium theme was “Whitman and the Poetry of War.” The Call for Papers appears below.

Applications for the Seminar

The 2015 Walt Whitman seminar is over. Please consider applying to the International Whitman Week 2016 in Exeter.

Call for Papers: Whitman and War Poetry

The Eights Annual International Walt Whitman Symposium

Held at Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München, Germany, on August 1, 2015.

The 2016 International Whitman Symposium took place on the Sesquicentennial of the publication of Whitman’s Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps, his poems about the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination. The symposium also took place 150 years after the end of America’s Civil War. Since the U.S. Civil War ended, there have been over 200 new civil wars around the world, and at least twenty are still ongoing.

The organizers invited papers for this symposium that considered the nature of Whitman’s achievement in Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps; that examine his war poems in relation to his prose (including his Civil War journalism and his Memoranda During the War); that examined the ways that writers (and other artists) from Whitman’s time to the present have called upon Drum-Taps to help them understand and respond to new civil wars; and that examined Whitman’s impact on war poets of the late-nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.  Papers should be no more than 25 minutes in duration.

Organizers of the 2015 TWWA Symposium

Stephanie M. Blalock stephanie-blalock(at)
Christine Gerhardt christine.gerhardt(at)
Sascha Pöhlmann poehlmann(at)
Kenneth Price kprice2(at)

The 2015 Symposium of the TWWA is over. Please consider sending a proposal to the 2016 Symposium to be held in Exeter.