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English department to co-host May 31 celebration of poet Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday

ISSUED: 16 May 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Department of English and Modern Languages and Four Seasons Books are celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday on Friday, May 31, starting at 4 p.m. with a series of readings around Shepherdstown and culminating in a birthday party at the bookstore. The event is free and open to the public and attendees are invited to share their own poems or selections from Whitman’s work.

“Because Whitman’s work celebrated nature, the outdoors, and the beauty of everyday people and life, we’ll move through Shepherdstown, stopping at key places to share his poetry and the poetry of others,” said Dr. Heidi Hanrahan, professor of English. “People are welcome to come to any or all of the stops. We’ll take breaks between each stop so they can move at their own pace and duck into the shops and restaurants around town.”

The event will begin at 4 p.m. at the James Rumsey Monument and Park, will continue on the lawn of McMurran Hall at 5 p.m., and will end at 6 p.m. at Four Seasons Books where wine, cheese, and cake will be served.

Featured readers include Dr. James Pate, assistant professor of English; Sadie Shorr-Parks, adjunct instructor of English; Ed Zahniser, Shepherdstown poet; and Katie Quinnelly, Shepherd alumna.

For more information, contact Hanrahan at

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