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Charles Kuralt and Walt Whitman on the Road


Walt Whitman filled the pages of Leaves of Grass with poetry exalting the lives of Americans. While out in the streets, he observed and recorded the beauty of daily life. Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing" is a delightful example how common activities make up the fabric of America.  Within its lines, a boatman owns a part of America, and a mother's daily activities are considered divine:

I Hear America Singing
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand
     singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morning, or
     at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of
     the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows,
     robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Starting in 1967, Charles Kuralt's weekly television show highlighted the worth of daily life in small-town America, whether it was interviewing a birch bark canoe builder, featuring a newspaper run by one, or finding the best sling shot in America.  In 49 minutes, the CBS television compilation Twenty Years on the Road with Charles Kuralt captures over 20 years of television dedicated to the beauty and value of everyday American life.

A screening of the television broadcast will take place on Wednesday March 30, 2011 at 7 pm on the first floor of the Mid-Manhattan Library in the corner room as part of the NYPL at Nite Film Series.
More of Charles Kuralt:
A dash of Walt Whitman:



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