Celebrating the Radical Optimism of Walt Whitman, Father of American Poetry

April is National Poetry Month and 2019 is a special year because it is Walt Whitman's bicentennial. Amber West, Assistant Director of the UCLA Undergraduate Writing Center and organizer of Whitmania, a series of west coast events celebrating the poet’s 200th birthday, will present a lecture on Walt Whitman and his importance to American culture. Mr. Whitman was wonderfully optimistic about the goodness and worth of all people and the importance of democracy. Amber West will also read some of the poet’s work aloud and share some of her own Whitman-inspired work.

Amber West is a poet who teaches writing at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her poetry collection, Hen & God, was published in 2017 by the Washington, D.C. based literary press, The Word Works and these events are also part of her Egg Up! national book tour. The title of the tour is a feminist re-visioning of the old saying, "Man up!" West earned her B.A. in Literature & Creative Writing from University of California, Santa Cruz, M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New York University, and Ph.D. in English from University of Connecticut. Her dear college friend and roommate, Sarah Ann Mercer, is memorialized in the Eagle Point Library.