Walt Whitman Essays Leaves Grass

Walt Whitman Essays Leaves Grass-55
The overall result of this practice is that Whitman’s poetry is seen always to flow from a single being; it is as unified and as singular as the man who made it.

The overall result of this practice is that Whitman’s poetry is seen always to flow from a single being; it is as unified and as singular as the man who made it.

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[…] What do you think has become of the young and old men?

And what do you think has become of the women and children?

We don’t know how or why Whitman began to invent his extraordinary poetry.

In 1842 he listened to “The Poet”, a lecture in which philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson called for a national bard who could write about the US in all its diversity.

He took the opportunity of having the best compositors, the Rome brothers, typeset his poems, and he supervised the work closely, revising his poetry to fit the page. The book’s long non-rhyming lines are reminiscent of bible verses.

Each seems to correspond with a single breath or a single gesture.

There are six editions of the book (nine, if you count different type-settings).

As soon as one was published Whitman would revise, regroup and add to the poems, treating the published book as a manuscript to be edited and republished.

Having had some success – a novel and newspaper pieces – he became chief editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, but lost this position when his opposition to the spread of slavery clashed with the views of the newspaper’s owner.

Luckily, an opportunity arose to work on a newspaper in New Orleans.

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