posted April 4, 2005

Lecture Will Focus on Walt Whitman

The annual DeGraaf Lecture at Hope College will focus on recent discoveries and directions in scholarship concerning Walt Whitman.

The presentation will be on Tuesday, April 12, at 4 p.m. in room 1019 of the college's science center by Dr. Ed Folsom, who is the Carver Professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa and is considered the "dean" of Whitman scholars.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Folsom's teaching and research focus on 19th and 20th century American poetry and culture. "I'm particularly interested in the ways American poets have talked back to Walt Whitman over the years, and how Whitman tapped into American culture in surprising ways to construct a radical new kind of writing," he notes.

His extensive and award-winning scholarly work includes multiple books as well as electronic media focused on Whitman. The second edition of his book "Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song," edited with Jim Perlman and Dan Campion, won the 1999 Independent Publisher Book Award for Poertry; the first edition was selected by Choice as "Outstanding Academic Book, 1982-83." His "Major Authors on CD-ROM: Whitman," which he co-edited, was selected by Choice as "Outstanding Academic Book, 1998," and his book "Walt Whitman's Native Representations" was selected by Choice as "Outstanding Academic Book, 1995."

Folsom directed a symposium of Whitman in translation, and also directed a conference on Whitman in Beijing, China - from which "Whitman East and West," a collection of essays by participants, developed. He is editor of the Iowa Whitman Series of University of Iowa Press and also of the "Walt Whitman Quarterly Review," and is an honorary trustee of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association.

He has been a member of the University of Iowa faculty since 1976. He was the F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor from 1997 until 2002, when he was appointed to the Carver professorship.

Folsom was a Fulbright professor at the University of Dortmund in Germany during 1995-96. His honors and awards also include a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation Award for 2003-2005, and an NEH Research Award for 2000-2003.

The Clarence DeGraaf Lectureship was established in 1988 by the family of Dr. Clarence DeGraaf in memory of his service on the faculty of Hope College. DeGraaf taught in the department of English at Hope for 44 years, until his retirement in 1972, and served as department chairman for 25 of those years.

The science center is located on College Avenue at 12th Street.