Weekends with Whitman — Salut au Monde, Song of the Open Road, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Following Calamus are 11 uncategorized poems that all together comprise more than 100 pages. In this post I'll try to discuss the first three. So far, Whitman has developed a singular voice and the themes recited in earlier parts of the book continue to shine in the text. If I were reading the book straight... Continue Reading →

Weekends with Whitman — Calamus

Calamus is a thematic break from earlier sections of Leaves of Grass, in that it focuses on Whitman's feelings of companionship with other men. Racial minorities, women, and children are scarcely mentioned in this section, as the poet concentrates on his feelings about friendship and romantic encounters between men. He also brings up his age... Continue Reading →

Weekends with Whitman — The Children of Adam

Compared to Song of Myself, The Children of Adam is a relatively short section of Leaves of Grass--only 24 pages long in my 1945 version of the book. In this part Whitman expounds his enjoyment and love of his own body and those around him. The noun "children" is deliberately chosen...

Weekends with Whitman — Song of Myself (2 of 2)

The 52 sections of Song of Myself can rightly be described as stand-alone vignettes. The first 32 maintain a crescendo--a narrative of the author's self-creation. After that the narrative begins to break down, and the sections have a less deterministic feel. In the first part the author is describing his experiences and beliefs in the... Continue Reading →

Weekends with Whitman – Starting from Paumanok

Starting from Paumanok's begins with the lines "Starting from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born, / Well begotten and rais'd by a perfect mother, / After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements, / ... / Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World." The pattern...

Reviewing Strange Seeds by S. H. Vogl

Strange Seeds isn't my usual reading. But I saw the photos and bought the book. I'm glad I did. It's a self-published book written by S. H. Vogl and illustrated by Kaela Lichstein. Vogl mixes poetry and prose through the book as she pieces together her personal stories of heartbreak and abuse, and leads up to her recovery and growth....

Weekends with Whitman — Inscriptions

Inscriptions is the first section of Leaves of Grass, 24 poems that presumably prepare the reader for the rest of the volume. Whitman opens with One's-Self I Sing, and As I Ponder'd in Silence by sharing his belief in and the intended breadth of his work. He believes he doesn't just talk about himself--his poetry is a song about and for all of humanity. Not only that, he believes his writing is part of an age-old cause, a battle in an ancient and ongoing war...

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