Our colleague Lytle Shaw has written a wonderful piece called “Whitman’s Urbanism” for our forthcoming Cambridge Companion to the Literature of New York City. (Yes, “literatures” have become “literature” at the request of the press — more’s the pity.) Lytle’s piece focuses on the way that Whitman’s poetic evocation of the city influenced later writers, most particularly Allen Ginsberg.

Apparently, Lytle isn’t the only one interested in this subject. Here’s a call for papers that’s just materialized in our inbox:

Whitman & The Beats
April 9-11 2010
St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY

The English and Communication Arts Departments at St. Francis College calls for papers that celebrate the influence of Walt Whitman on Beat writers including but not limited to Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs,  and Jack Kerouac.
We seek papers that break new ground in addressing Whitman’s presence in the works of Beat writers, the reception of Whitman’s poetry by the Beats, and papers which address how the legacy of the Beats, their perspectives of their era and artistic innovations, may be traced to Whitman’s influence on American literary culture.  Topics may include (but are not limited to) areas of inquiry such as “the road”, “gender and sexuality”, “mysticism”, “religion and spirituality”, “America”, and “transcendentalism”.  Examples of possible papers include (but, again, are not limited to)
“The Beats and the Search for Authenticity”
“Forging a New American Language”
“The Spontaneous Yawp: “New” Writing Styles in Whitman and the Beats”
“Cultural Minutia Found in Whitman and the Beats”
“Whitman’s and the Beats use of New York City”
“The Beat’s (Sub)Consious Rewriting of Whitman”
“Whose America? The Idea of a Nation in Whitman and the Beats”
“Homosexuality in the Beats and Whitman”
“War in Whitman and the Beats”
“Poetry for (and about) the People”
“Autobiographical Influences in the Poetry of Ginsberg and Whitman”
“Not Ready for Prime Time: the “Forgotten” Works of Whitman and the Beats”
“Nationalistic Drum Banging in Whitman and the Beats”  
To submit, please send a 500-word abstract to Dr. Ian Maloney at imaloney@stfranciscollege.edu by January 31, 2010. Finished papers should be 8-10 pages, capable of being read in 20 minutes or less. Please note on your abstract your technological needs for your presentation.