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American poet Walt Whitman celebrated in Radio 4 gay documentary

Nell Frizzell June 24, 2009
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Radio 4 will broadcast a new celebration of the work of the poet Walt Whitman early next month.

The show, Walking with Whitman, was produced by the independent radio production company Made in Manchester and will be presented by Stuart Maconie.

Whitman is often labelled as gay or bisexual by biographers, although it is not clear if he ever had a relationship with a man.

Maconie hails from Lancashire, the county known to Whitman as the home of the Bolton Whitmanites – a group of avid devotees who conducted an extraordinary relationship with the poet through letters and visits over five years until his death in 1892.

“The name Walt Whitman usually encourages thoughts of poetry, comradeship, equality – and America. But few people know about the long association he had with the northern English mill town of Bolton” said Andrew Edwards, the co-producer of the show, who presents BBC Radio Manchester’s only regular BBC LGBT programme ‘Gay Hour’.

“In Walking with Whitman,” explained Edwards, “Stuart Maconie heads to the Lancashire Moors to join Whitman fans who travel from all over the world every year on his birthday to recite and celebrate his unique work.”

Since launching four years ago, Made in Manchester has produced a rage of radio documentaries across a range of different genres, including an LGBT show called ‘How Aids Changed America’ for BBC Radio 2.

Walking with Whitman will air on BBC Radio 4 at 4.30pm on Sunday July 5th 2009.

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