The New York Society Library Announces Whitman/Melville Bicentennial Performances, 10/6

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In honor of the 200th birthdays this year of both Walt Whitman and Herman Melville, The New York Society Library presents a remarkable double feature:

Stephen J. Collins

Unlaunch'd Voices: An Afternoon with Walt Whitman

a play by Michael Z. Keamy

Sunday, October 6, 3:00 PM

Herman Melville: Sailing Towards My Father

a play by Carl A. Rossi

Sunday, October 6, 6:00 PM

The New York Society Library, 53 East 79th Street (@Madison). Open to the public; $20 per person per play; advance registration required. Full details and registration:

Unlaunch'd Voices: An Afternoon With Walt Whitman, by playwright Michael Z. Keamy, opens with Whitman on the evening of his seventieth birthday, reminiscing that at least his work has been "less than a failure...." We trace with him the experiences that led to the creation of his lifelong masterpiece Leaves Of Grass, his preoccupation with the self and his resolve to write with "free and brave thought..." Whitman's life is then changed forever by the Civil War. It is here that he finds "... the most important work of my life..." nursing the wounded soldiers in the hospitals. Through poetry and readings of actual letters, we experience Whitman's movement from selfishness and selflessness and his growth into a mature artist who is at peace about "himself, God and death."

Sailing Towards My Father is a solo play by Carl A. Rossi about Herman Melville (1819-1891), the American author best known for his whaling epic Moby-Dick. The play chronicles Melville's life from youth to old age, concentrating on his evolution as a writer and his complex relations with God, his parents and siblings, his wife and children, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Stephen J. Collins grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and received a BA in Literature from UMass Boston. He teaches seminars on Whitman, Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, and contemporary poetry at locations throughout the Boston area and also works as a professionally licensed tour guide there.

The New York Society Library, founded in 1754, is New York City's oldest library and a thriving community of readers, writers, and families. The Library is open to all for reading, reference, and many events. Learn more at

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