Walt Whitman Archive

Kissing Walt Whitman

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I saw all the things we consider “Whitmanesque”: the energy, the exuberance, the empathy. And one thing that my mother’s serene portrait had not prepared me for—the eroticism.

Why the Language of Awesomeness Fails Us

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We trust the language of betrayal. If a teen writer wants to win a contest, let her turn not to the wonders of the world but to its horrors. Profundity is biased toward the grim, and injustice is not ageist.

Whitman and Dickinson and the Civil War

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Contemporary American poetry was born in the context of the Civil War, the war that claimed more Americans than ever before or since. Whitman and Dickinson, two of America’s seminal poets, were alive and writing poetry during the Civil War.

American Poetry: Video and the Evolution of Language

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The composition of poetry has taken on a new life. Poetry has evolved from oral and traditional forms, to print and performance, and to our present moment where an amalgam of all forms is possible with technology. Video is a revisiting of the oral and performative traditions of poetry

Round-Up: Ancient Egyptian Stories, Tom Hanks, and Walt Whitman

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From newly translated ancient Egyptian stories to Walt Whitman's lost novel, here's the latest literary news.

On Abstraction and Acessibility: Poetry, Perspective, and the Painting of Jordan Kantor

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Lately, I've been particularly intrigued by the work of Jordan Kantor. His work has prompted me to revisit how I have been formulating the Venn diagram of poetry and painting. Kantor is an artist who gets many things right.

Accessing Social History through Books

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The required reading for the entering undergraduate class the year I enrolled was Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, by James W. Loewen. I didn’t read it.

Lilies in the Yard: On Getting Away

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I reread Sylvia Plath this summer on a fairly remote island off Ireland’s Connemara coast. Plath had been there once in September of 1962. She and Ted Hughes accepted an invitation from the Irish poet, Richard Murphy, to visit him at his home in the country’s heralded west.

Urban Pastoral: American City Poets and Poems

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American poetry has a rich tradition of creating space for the full truth of our cities in poems and drawing connections between the interdependent worlds of American city life. Thinking about this tradition in formal terms, we might call it the urban pastoral.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query VI

This is the fourth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here, here and here. ** Query VI: “Productions mineral, vegetable and animal” A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.