This special double issue of Mickle Street Review showcases some of the exciting work presented at the Whitman and Place conference held at Rutgers University-Camden in April 2005 in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the first publication of Whitman’s monumental Leaves of Grass.

The conference was supported by Margaret Marsh, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-Camden; the Department of English at Rutgers-Camden; the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers-Camden; the New Jersey Council for the Humanities; the Camden County Cultural and Heritage Commission; the Graduate English Program at Rutgers-Camden; the Walt Whitman Program in American Studies at Rutgers-Camden; and the Walt Whitman House in Camden.

Papers at the conference broke new ground in addressing Whitman’s physical presence in landscapes, the engagement of his poetry with these landscapes and their ideologies, the reception of Whitman and his poetry in various regions of the U.S. and around the world, the experience of encountering Leaves of Grass in precise places, including cyberspace, and the “place” or siting of such cultural conditions as class, gender, and sexuality in his work.


It is in Camden that Whitman spent his final years, moving in with his brother George in 1873 and buying his first and only house there in 1884; the city was then a bustling seaport and by Whitman’s own account brought him “blessed returns.” Before calling on Camden, he moved widely through the country, living in New York (Brooklyn and Manhattan) and, during the Civil War and for a while after, Washington, DC. He also resided for a short time in New Orleans in 1848. While in Camden, Whitman traveled to Canada and to the western prairies, experiences he recorded memorably in his poetry and prose.

In this double issue we bring together a range of voices (junior and senior scholars, teachers, and artists) on the life and work of Walt Whitman, a distinctive poetic voice of the mid-Atlantic region, as we seek to chart a course for his study and appreciation into the twenty-first century, with an eye to the fundamental importance of place.

Also new to this issue is the updated archives section of the site, which now includes Mickle Street Review’s first five print issues.

I wish to thank Jesse Merandy, Mickle Street Review’s managing editor, for his tireless work on this issue, from its vibrant layout to the digital daguerreotype images and facsimile images of letters written by Whitman included in several of the sections.

Tyler Hoffman