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Fall 5784 - Song of Myself: Walt Whitman Poetry Class

Teacher: Matthew John Bezalel Bivalacqua

Description: There is an enduring and familiar element in Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. Perhaps it is his sincerity, or reverence towards creation’s singularity. Maybe ol’ Walt truly is one of the great Romantic American poets, and we can not help being attracted to the reverberation of his lines. Then again, perhaps the validity in Whitman’s theological view of the world is what allures us so. Join us, as we read through the 1892 version of Song of Myself, and ask questions like: Is this epic poem really about Whitman? Who is narrating? What does Nature want with Walt, let alone, what does nature have to do with HaShem? Better yet, what relevance does this poem have to Jews living in 2023? Join us as we, “…permit to speak at every hazard, Nature without check with original energy.”

Required Reading:
Song of Myself (1892 edition) found in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1892 edition). Please purchase a copy (
links provided by teacher upon registration) or use the online version provided. Link to the poem:

Time: Mondays, 6:30pm -7:30pm

Dates: 10/23 - 12/11 (NO CLASS 10/30)

Location: Hybrid - CAA History Room and Online

Investment:  Donation suggested

Teacher BioMatthew John Betzalel Bivalacqua was born and raised Roman Catholic in Metairie LA, 1981. In 2015 he received his undergraduate degrees from the University of New Orleans, in Fine Arts and Philosophy. In 2018 he received his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of New Orleans. In 2021, Matthew John converted to Judaism and in 2021 was awarded an Arts and Culture Fellowship from Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, in Jerusalem. For the past five years Matthew John has performed his poetry, reading at open mics in New Orleans, Fort Collins, Huston, Austin, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. You can check out his visual works at

To register for this class, please complete the information below: 

Though these classes do not have a tuition, donations are always appreciated to help cover costs. If you would like to make a donation towards our Adult Education Fund, please use the field below. 
Fri, December 1 2023 18 Kislev 5784