North American Review celebrates Walt Whitman with 'Every Atom: Reflections on Walt Whitman at 200'

UNI NEWS SERVICES – The North American Review, housed at the University of Northern Iowa, is celebrating American poet Walt Whitman's 200th birthday with "Every Atom: Reflections on Walt Whitman at 200."

Over the next 200 days, 200 prominent poets, writers, scholars, historians, artists, public figures and citizens will offer commentary on different passages of Whitman's most famous poem, "Song of Myself." In addition to celebrating the poet's 200th birthday, the project will present a range of contemporary responses that, like the poem itself, "contains multitudes," from critical analysis to personal reflection.

"Whitman wrote with deep compassion and sympathy," said North American Review editor Jeremy Schraffenberger. "He was our country’s great poet of democracy, equality and justice. Our goal with this project was to initiate an ongoing conversation not only about art and poetry but also centered on these national ideals."

The 200 responses will be published daily in the North American Review's online venue, Open Space, which began with an introduction by the project curator Brian Clements, professor of writing, linguistics and creative writing at Western Connecticut State University. The project began on May 31 and will continue through the end of 2019. Contributors to the project include Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams; singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash; American poets laureate Robert Hass and Billy Collins; environmentalist Bill McKibbens; Whitman scholars Ed Folsom and Kenneth Price; and writers Michael Cunningham, Erica Jong, Maxine Hong Kingston and Terry Tempest Williams. 

For more information about "Every Atom: Reflections on Walt Whitman at 200," visit the North American Review website at


Rachel Morgan, instructor of English and editor of the North American Review, 319-273-2016,

Jeremy Schraffenberger, associate professor of English and editor of the North American Review, 319-273-3879,

Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761