Moline man portrays Walt Whitman at Dead Poets


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Posted Online: May 16, 2013, 6:23 pm
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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com
Richard Leddy, of Moline, will portray poet Walt Whitman at 2 p.m. today in a free presentation at Dead Poets Espresso, 1525 3rd Ave. A, Moline.

The 61-year-old Davenport native bears a striking resemblance to Whitman (1819-1892), with a fairly long gray beard. Mr. Leddy has played Whitman since March at Dead Poets, a brick-walled coffee house that boasts large portraits of several, well, dead poets.

"What really got this thing ticking is, I would see the pictures on the wall and thought, 'Somebody should come in and bring them to life,' " he said Thursday.

Mr. Leddy has averaged about one hour-long talk per month, in which he wears period clothes, reads Whitman poems, talks about other writers and events of the day and makes a few jokes.

"He became the American poet," Mr. Leddy said of Whitman. "He was just outspoken; he really described things the way he saw them.

"He was brilliantly talented. His poetry will stand the test of time. That's why I do what I do," he said. "This is poetry for the ages. It's classic poetry -- it's beautiful, it's thought-provoking."

Mr. Leddy's mother was an English teacher and librarian, and he leads a classic book group in the cafe at the Moline Public Library at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month. He also wants to do presentations on other "dead poets" such as Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson.

"My mother wouldn't want to let it go. I'm doing it in her memory," he said.

















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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