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Read & Write With Dante Micheaux

February 24, 2022 @ EST 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Prose Rhythm in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

Thursday, February 24, 2022 | 6 – 7:30 pm: Craft Talk with Dante Micheaux

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 | 6 – 7:30 pm: Workshopping Session, facilitated by Alison Meyers

The Whitmanian corpus, large and ever-growing, will never be as large as Whitman himself—whom we remember for his 1855 publication of Leaves of Grass (among other things), which marked the beginning of an American poetic project. The endeavor sought to and succeeded in distinguishing itself from its European, though chiefly British, antecedents by forging a national literature from a colonial one. Aside from the literary history of the book and its historicity, what has the poetry offered to practitioners of the medium over the decades? How has it shaped, or does it continue to shape, contemporary poetries?

Accompanied by questions to guide your reading and prompts to inspire new writing (see below), this talk will range through Leaves of Grass, looking at specific examples and extratextual comparisons to explore these and other questions.

Recommended edition: Leaves of Grass

Dante Micheaux is the author of Circus (Indolent Books, 2018), winner of the Four Quartets Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the T. S. Eliot Foundation, and Amorous Shepherd (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010). His poems and translations have appeared in African American Review; The American Poetry Review; Callaloo; Literary Imagination; Poem­-ADay; Poetry; PN Review; and Tongue, among other journals and anthologies. Micheaux’s other honors include the 2020 Ambit Magazine Poetry Prize, and a fellowship from The New York Times Foundation. He is the 31st Recipient of the Amy Clampitt Residency. Micheaux is a Cave Canem fellow and currently serves as Guest Curator & Artistic Advisor of Cave Canem Foundation, Inc.

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February 24: Participating readers and writers listen to presenting scholar’s one-hour craft talk, delivered in real time via Zoom, then take advantage of a 20-minute Q & A segment using the Chat feature.

Enrollment limited to 18.

March 1: Participating writers have an opportunity to share drafts produced in response to instructor’s prompts.


  1. Can Whitman be viewed as an early proponent of transparency? If yes, how so?
  2. What is Whitman’s opinion of literary history?
  3. To what extent does cosmopolitanism factor into Leaves of Grass?


  1. Look out the smallest window in your home. Make a list of the first 100 things you see (hint: the number of visible objects is less important than the facets of your imagination). Compose a piece in any literary genre including all 100 things.
  2. Choose a single object and write 100 sentences about it.
  3. Choose the occupation from the fifth section of Whitman’s “A Song for Occupations” that most closely resembles your own occupation or vocation. Write an apologia for or a diatribe against the chosen occupation.

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CLASS FEE: Members $30, General Public $40 | Scholarships available – apply HERE


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February 24, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Writers & Books
(585) 473-2590
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Writers & Books
740 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607 United States
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(585) 473-2590
If you would like to make a request for any accommodation, please email us at accommodation@wab.org at least 10 days prior to the event or workshop.

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