“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
Walt Whitman

So begins Song of Myself by Walt Whitman, hailed as the “bard of democracy” and the “father of free verse.” Join us as we celebrate Whitman’s 198th birthday and the 98th anniversary of the dedication of Bon Echo’s “Old Walt” memorial with a live rendition of the epic poem.

Sunday, May 28th
at the Pumphouse Beach
Bon Echo Provincial Park

Song of Myself, first published in the collection Leaves of Grass in 1855, explores ideas of self, comradeship and the communion between humanity and nature. Although the book initially met with controversy, it has since achieved a worldwide reputation for its literary significance. The Poetry Foundation calls Whitman “a latter-day successor to Homer, Virgil, Dante and Shakespeare.”

The Old Walt memorial is an inscription carved by stone masons into the face of Mazinaw Rock. Dedicated in 1919, it was commissioned by Flora MacDonald Denison, then owner of the extensive property that is now Bon Echo Provincial Park. Denison was a businesswoman, journalist, suffragette and devotee of Whitman’s “democratic ideals.”

Walt Whitman Quotes

Walt Whitman Quote on Mazinaw Rock in Bon Echo Provincial Park commissioned by Flora MacDonald Denison (visible in this picture under the ‘p’ in amplitude)


Want to be part of the reading? Contact Friends of Bon Echo Park at friendsbonecho@gmail.com.