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Bill Koch received a Ph.D. in American Studies from St. Louis University and is an adjunct professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Northern Iowa. He has been a Whitman re-enactor since 1997, appearing at various Civil War encampments in Iowa, and presenting his show “Walt Whitman Live!!” in numerous venues, including the Old State Capital in Springfield, Illinois. A portion of this show can be seen online at Mickle Street Review website,http://micklestreet.rutgers.edu/1.mov.
Walt Whitman Live!!
In this one hour program, Walt Whitman, portrayed by Dr. Bill Koch, will highlight major poems from his collection Leaves of Grass, as he celebrates 2005 as the 150th anniversary of the publication of Leaves of Grass. In addition, Whitman will pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln, on the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the Lincoln assassination, with a description of the nation’s obsequies, and recitations of the Gettysburg Address and “O Captain, My Captain.”
Walt Whitman’s poetry of nature is highlighted. In this presentation, we see an older Whitman, as portrayed by Koch, hobbled by a stroke and watch him as he finds strength from his contact with trees, babbling brooks, the prairie and the night sky. The show can be done with little technical support, although it can be staged in theater-like settings.