Bruce Noll will present Leaves of Grass Nov. 12 The poetry of Walt Whitman will be brought to life through a dramatic interpretation by Bruce Noll on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Arne B. Larson Concert Hall at the Shrine to Music Museum.
The program is hailed as a remarkable way to experience Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
Noll, a former Vermillionite and USD professor, now hails from Albuquerque, NM, where he is a professor of adult education at the University of New Mexico. He has been bringing Whitman's work to audiences for more than 28 years.
Pure Grass has been presented to thousands of people in 20 states, including performances for the Walt Whitman Association in Camden, NJ, and in 1992, at the Whitman Centennial Conference at the University of Iowa, which marked the 100th anniversary of Whitman's death.
Noll has long been fascinated by Whitman's work, memorizing many selections from Leaves of Grass and weaving them into his Pure Grass performances.
"Whitman's work," he says, "has a way of liberating the spirit. His words sing out their melodies as purely today as they did 100 years ago, perhaps even more so. They contain truths and insights for people in all times.
"Although societies, governments, and lifestyles change, what people are truly concerned about ties them together from one generation to another," Noll added. "Whitman knew this, and that's in part why his poems are so magically alive for us today."
A published poet himself, Noll has a strong desire for audiences to hear Leaves of Grass spoken because the voice of Whitman comes alive in a personal way. Noll is continually memorizing new sections and changing the script for Pure Grass.
Walt Whitman is regarded by poetry scholars and enthusiasts as the father of modern American poetry. His unique style of writing as well as the personal content of his work helped to revolutionize the art of poetry. Whitman's attempt to create a new form of writing for the new nation of democracy was, by most accounts, highly successful.
The performance is sponsored by the Office of Speech Communication, the College of Fine Arts and the Vermillion Area Arts Council. Everyone welcome � there is no admission charge.