English 24, Section 1

Reading Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Hertha D. Sweet Wong
Monday 12:00-2:00, HD--Unit 2, WADA, L08 (Channing Avenue), Class number: 46200

In this seminar, we will read Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" as well as an assortment of his other poems. We will consider each poem in the context of Whitman's overall themes and formal contributions to American poetry. In early October, we will attend actor, songwriter, and educator John Slade's solo performance, "Whitman Sings," a musical piece composed completely of Whitman's words, but set to "folk, gospel, and hip hop frames." In the tradition of Hal Holbrook's 'Mark Twain Tonight!' and Julie Harris as Emily Dickinson, Slade embodies another titan of American Literature, Walt Whitman. You'll have the opportunity to talk with Slade after the performance.

Instructor Bio

Hertha D. Sweet Wong is Associate Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of English. Affiliated with American Studies, Native American Studies, Gender and Women's Studies,and Art Practice, she is author of "Sending My Heart Back Across the Years: Tradition and Innovation in Native American Autobiography" (Oxford UP, 1992) as well as numerous articles on Native American literature, autobiography, and environmental non-fiction. She is editor of "Louise Erdrich’s 'Love Medicine': A Casebook" (Oxford UP, 2000) and co-editor of "Reckonings: Contemporary Short Fiction by Native American Women" (Oxford UP, 2008) and "Family of Earth and Sky: Indigenous Tales of Nature from around the World" (Beacon, 1994). Her new book, "Look Here! Readings of American Autobiography in Words and Images, 1970-Present" is forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press. The very first journal article she published was on Walt Whitman.

Faculty web site: http://english.berkeley.edu/profiles/75