Whitman House Campaign/Heaney HomePlace Event – Poetry News Roundup November 6th

Today’s poetry news articles look at the ongoing campaign to landmark the house where Walt Whitman once lived and a recent event that took place at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace.

Efforts to Landmark Walt Whitman’s House in Clifton Hill Doubled

During a street co-naming ceremony which took place the other day, a group of preservationists called for a renewal of efforts to landmark the Clifton Hill house of Walt Whitman.

The ceremony which took place on Saturday saw the unveiling of Walt Whitman Way. The group took the opportunity to renew their call. The house that they want landmarking is just a few short blocks away from the intersection of Ryerson Street and DeKalb Avenue where the new road sign is.

Whitman lived at 99 Ryerson Street with his family for 11 months from May 1855. It is often referred to as the Leaves of Grass House, as this is where Whitman published his first version of “Leaves of Grass”. The poetry collection was considered revolutionary and had an impact on American arts and letters.

The Editor of the Eagle magazine during the 1840’s Whitman is regarded by many as the greatest American poet.

The house at 99 Ryerson Street was built in the 1850s however more recently it has been covered with modern siding. It is certainly nothing to look at currently, but it is a perfect reflection of the working-class roots of the poet. It is now the only house in New York where the poet lives that is still standing.

The group believe that it is important to save the house from possible demolition. Any building that has been given landmark status is exempt from being demolished or having any exterior alterations completed unless the express permission of the Landmarks Preservation Commission has been given.

The house is truly seen to be a symbol of the poet and his life in Brooklyn. A petition requesting that the house be landmarked has now garnered 7,000 signatures.

There have been previous attempts made to have the property landmarked however these have been rejected. The house is currently owned by Horacio Downs Living Trust and they are opposed to having any kind of landmarking placed on the building. However, owner permission is not actually required in order for a building to be landmarked.

Mid Ulster Baha’i Community Celebrate at HomePlace

A week ago, at the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, an evening of celebration took place with members of the Baha’i community coming together in a celebration to mark the 200 years that have passed since the birth of the Bab.

The celebrations were opened by Cllr Kearney who praised the assistance that the Baha’i community have given over the last fifty years. His address was followed by one made by Rev Dr Adrian Nigel Stringer who offered greetings from the Christian community to the Baha’i people who were there.

There was a lecture on the history of the Bab as well as a number of renditions of popular songs. There was also a reading of poetry by the poet Mary Cecil.

The evening was completed with the singing of a number of traditional Irish songs.

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