Whitman in the Woods.

As the first Artist-in-Residence of the Emmy Award-winning arts and culture hub All Arts, Mac was tasked to create content conceived entirely for the screen – a first for the artist, and for creative producer Pomegranate Arts.

Mac turned to 19th-century American poet and queer icon Walt Whitman, selecting favorite Whitman poems including “Native Moments” (interpreted three ways), “When I Heard at the Close of the Day”, “To A Stranger” and “XXIV” from Song of Myself.

Mac collaborated with director and cinematographer Noah Greenberg (who makes his directorial debut with Whitman in the Woods.) and editor Luis Moreno / Other NYC.

Whitman in the Woods. was shot with a small and intrepid crew at the height of the COVID pandemic in the July 2020 heat wave in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley. Mac’s longtime collaborators costume designer Machine Dazzle and makeup designer Anastasia Durasova created looks for Mac inspired by the woodland surroundings, and in some cases, incorporated ferns, pinecones, snake skins and other natural elements found on set.

Rolled out in segments over the course of April 2021 in honor of National Poetry Month, Whitman In the Woods. can be enjoyed as a complete 15-minute film streaming here.

“Like many others, my introduction to Whitman happened indoors and through an academic, humorless and heterosexual lens. Whitman was so clearly in love with the outside world and with men, and he had a unique sense of humor. This is our way of finding the fairy in Whitman, by which I mean, the queer and the wood spirit. I sing America indeed.”

Taylor Mac

Whitman in the Woods.