What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month than with Walt Whitman reading from his poem "America."
(First four lines are preserved; click through for poem text.)
He reads so slowly! And afterwards, he gets naked.
Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear'd, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair'd in the adamant of Time.
This recording—a cassette of a 1951 radio broadcast of an 1889 or 1890 vertically cut Edison wax-cylinder—was found in the apartment of elevator operator Roscoe Haley following his death in 1982; "an eccentric collector, his Manhattan apartment was jammed full of recordings, books, and papers." Thank goodness for hoarders.
And cheers to poetry—"Newton's health, and confusion to mathematics."
Let us all, without missing one, be exposed in public, naked,
monthly, at the peril of our lives! let our bodies be freely
handled and examined by whoever chooses!
Let nothing but copies at second hand be permitted to exist
upon the earth!
Walt Whitman by Thomas Eakins, mid-1880s
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.