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June Tuesday

Live Oak, With Moss: Uncovering Walt Whitman’s Queer Private Life


“Not these—O none of these, more than the
flames of me, consuming, burning for
his love whom I love” – Walt Whitman, “Calamus-Leaves”

As he was turning forty, Whitman privately wrote a series of poems entitled Live Oak, with Moss, portraying his most ardent explorations of same-sex love. Join illustrator Brian Selznick, who visualizes the poet’s passions on the book’s pages, and Whitman scholar Karen Karbiener as author and executive director of Brooklyn Poets Jason Koo moderates a discussion on this revolutionary collection that Whitman never published and which has remained largely unknown—until now.

Illustration by Brian Selznick

Presented in partnership with the Walt Whitman Initiative.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

6:30 pm


  • General Admission $10
  • Member Admission $5
reserve tickets


  • Karen-Karbiner-w

    Karen Karbiener

    Karen Karbiener is a Whitman scholar and teaches at New York University. Her publications include Leaves of Grass: First and Death-bed Editions, two audiobooks on Whitman’s influence on American cultural history, and a children’s book introducing Whitman to young readers.  She is the co-curator with collector Susan Tane of Poet of the Body: New York’s Walt Whitman, a major exhibition at the Grolier Club that will open on May 15, and the author of a forthcoming book based on that exhibition. In 2016, Karbiener co-founded the Walt Whitman Initiative, a nonprofit organization serving as an organizing center for cultural activism and poetry-related events.

  • Jason Koo

    Jason Koo

    Jason Koo is the author of More Than Mere Light, America’s Favorite Poem, and Man on Extremely Small Island. Coeditor of the Brooklyn Poets Anthology, he has published his poetry and prose in the American Scholar, Village Voice, and Yale Review, among other publications, and won fellowships for his work from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Writers Institute. An associate teaching professor of English at Quinnipiac University, Koo is the founder and executive director of Brooklyn Poets and creator of The Bridge. He lives in Brooklyn.

  • Brian Selznick

    Brian Selznick

    Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was the basis for the Martin Scorsese’s movie Hugo, which received five Oscars. His book Wonderstruck, was made into a major motion picture directed by Todd Haynes with a screenplay by Selznick. He and his husband David Serlin live in New York and California.