Walt Whitman Bridge Petition/Samuel L Jackson Turns To Poetry – Poetry News Roundup January 18th

Our final poetry news round up of the week takes a look at the petition to paint the Walt Whitman bridge, and the actor Samuel L. Jackson turning his hand to poetry on TV.

Walt Whitman Bridge Petition

There is a social media petition that is making the rounds at the moment, calling for the Walt Whitman Bridge to be painted in rainbow colours. The petition already has over 450 signatures.

It is more than 60 years since the bridge was named after the poet, a decision which at the time was seen as rather controversial. It was opened in May 1957.

The suspension bridge is operated and owned by the Delaware River Port Authority. It goes from Philadelphia to Gloucester City in New Jersey and crosses the Delaware river. The petition is referring to it as
Whitman was a 19th century poet, and regarded by many as one of the most significant poets of his time. His work had a strong influence on other poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Ezra Pound and C.K. Williams. It is now, 200 years after his birth that the Streets Dept art and culture blog which is run by Conrad Benner, the curator and writer, and the Penn Libraries Kislak Centre, have decided to work together to try and get the bridge pained with the colours of the pride flag – a rainbow. They want to remind young people of Whitman’s work and give them a chance to celebrate the contribution that he made to the LGBTQ culture.

The petition reads
It goes on to say
Whilst Whitman was very well regarded as a believer of friendship, democracy and nature, the naming of the bridge after him was highly opposed at the time. His poem “Leaves” was deemed by many at the time as “inappropriately homoerotic”. It is his most controversial work.

The petition had an original goal of just 500 signatures, but having already surpassed that the organisers have increased it to 1000.

Samuel. L Jackson – Poetry Slam

During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Samuel L Jackson showed that his skills also extend to poetry, when he took on such subjects as President Trump’s wall and the government shutdown.

Jimmy Fallon joined in and the pair of them took turns at turning some of the recent news articles into poetry.

“Wall, wall, wall,” he said,
He was then cut off by Fallon before he could add any of the expletives he is rather well known for!

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