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Student Life
December 10, 2012

The Sun Rises, but Shines Not: Walt Whitman's Civil War

Reading and Musical Performance of Poetry & Prose

The words of Walt Whitman painted the picture of life during war time as the St. Francis College Honors Program with The Walt Whitman Project presented The Sun Rises, But Shines Not: Walt Whitman’s Civil War, a reading of Whitman’s poetry and prose on Monday, December 3 at the College. (Watch the entire program)


“Whitman put out a radical idea to prevent the oncoming civil war,” said Whitman Project Artistic Director Greg Trupiano who organized the event. “A hope for a radical comradeship of men from north and south instead of seeing what separates them finding what binds them.”

That idea later became the Whitman poem "For You, O Democracy” which was set to music by Zach Redler and performed by William Roberts (bass-baritone) and Mila Henry (pianist). Two additional pieces, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Go Down Moses” were sung by Nicole Mitchell (contralto).

St. Francis Honors students Sarah Anwar, Katie Diehl, Zara Mahmud, Tyler Perkins and Michael Varga all read from a variety of Whitman works including the poems, “Years of Meteors (1859-60)”, “1861” and “Beat! Beat! Drums!” as well as sections from Whitman’s memoir Specimen Days.

“The beauty of art is that through all of this imagery and use of words and prose we are able to understand society and life and events on a deeper level,” said Mahmud, a senior Advertising major and President of the Honors Program.

In between each song and reading, Trupiano provided a number of anecdotes and information about Whitman and his connection to the Civil War and Brooklyn.

Attached photo: (Mila Hnery & William Roberts performing “For You, O Democracy.”

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.

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