Robert Hass, the former poet laureate of the United States, explores one of Walt Whitman's most iconic poems, Song of Myself — and shares his opinion about why the poem still resonates 155 years after it was written.
In his 30-year career, musician Fred Hersch has performed in solo, duo, trio and quintet settings. In 2003 he received the prestigious Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, which he used to work on his latest project, Leaves of Grass. For it, Hersch leads a 10-piece ensemble, which includes vocalists singing the words of Walt Whitman set to compositions by Hersch. He is touring the ensemble this month.
Composer John Adams. Although he comes out of the classical tradition, Adams is not afraid to use drum machines, synthesizers and silent-movie chord progressions in his music. His latest work, "The Wound Dresser", is a setting of a poem by Walt Whitman about the experience of tending wounded soldiers during the Civil War. For Adams, the work has connections to both the AIDS crisis and his father's recent battle with Alzheimer's disease. Adams also talks about his best-known work, the opera "Nixon in China".