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University of Iowa News Release


April 11, 2008

CORRECTED VERSION: The time for the airing of this documentary on Iowa Public Television on April 21 has been changed. The program now will air from 9 to 11 p.m., not 8 to 10 p.m. as stated in an earlier version of this release.

Folsom, Gurganus featured in PBS 'American Experience' film on Whitman April 21

Iowa Public Television will air a PBS "American Experience" documentary on poet Walt Whitman, featuring University of Iowa English Professor Ed Folsom and Iowa Writers' Workshop alumnus Allan Gurganus, from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday, April 21 on both its analog and digital services. The documentary will air on many other PBS networks April 14.

A related Web site is at

The Whitman film examines one of the most recognized figures in American literary history, as well as his failures to reach a general audience, to receive the honors he craved, and to curb the impending civil war.

Folsom, a well-known Whitman scholar, has been involved with the documentary for five years, contributing six hours of interviews and helping to edit the script. In the film he discusses Whitman's life, work and "urban affection" -- the way his poetry responds to and helps create a poetics of the city. He is co-director of the Walt Whitman Archive,, and edits the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and the Whitman Series for the UI Press. Currently on a Guggenheim Fellowship, he's writing a "biography" of Whitman's influential book "Leaves of Grass."

Gurganus studied at the Writers' Workshop under Stanley Elkin and John Cheever before going on to write essays, stories and novels, including "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" and "Plays Well With Others."

More information about the documentary is available at

NOTE: This release replaces an earlier news item about the documentary that was distributed April 1, 2008.

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