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I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me, The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into new tongue. This is the first edition of Leaves of Grass published in , which consists of 12 poems. In his poems Whitman exalts nature and h I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me, The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into new tongue.

In his poems Whitman exalts nature and humans, regardless of sex, race, class and profession. For him a prostitute is worth as much as a nobleman. The body is as worthy as the soul. I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea. View 2 comments.

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It is becoming increasingly trendy to chalk up success to practice and hard work. But it seems to me that some people were just born to do what they did, that no amount of practice could ever have produced something so fresh, original, new, and revolutionary. Take Montaigne. He invented a new genre the essay , pioneered a free and easy pro It is becoming increasingly trendy to chalk up success to practice and hard work. He invented a new genre the essay , pioneered a free and easy prose style, and popularized a down-to-earth skeptical attitude. There was no precedent to his proclamation that he would write about only himself.

To be sure, he worked very hard on his essays—going over them again and again, crossing out a line here, adding one there. Walt Whitman is a similar case. Though free verse had precedents in the Biblical psalms, no poet had emancipated himself so completely from prosody, rhythm, and rhyme. Not to mention that his celebration of the bodily pleasures and sexuality scandalized nearly everybody.

Leaves of Grass

Could 10, hours of anything have produced that? How do you practice to be original? This is all besides the point, I suppose. This poem is gorgeous. There is nothing trendy in his poetry—he was a member of no movement. At his worst, Whitman is repetitive: continually rehashing ideas and imagery, and producing some uninspiring lists. But at his best, Whitman is revelatory. When the force of his original perspective is married to the force of his original style, the product is as extraordinary as it is inimitable.

The words and ideas are woven around each other like a vine growing around a tree, producing a poem that lives and breathes—so freshly harvested from his mind, that even now it seems to still have dirt and roots clinging to it. View all 12 comments.

Whitman’s innovation

Nov 27, Ben Wilson rated it liked it Recommends it for: democrats, republicans, flag-shitters. Shelves: neverfinished. Leaves of Grass is like reading every single instant message that I and a friend of mine ever wrote to one another over the course of the last ten years. Likely way too long, too self-serving and would have shocked the general public if they cared to read it when it was written. But nestled in there are some real, true brilliant moments. This is after all Whitman's life work, laid bare and un-edited for the most part. What else are we to expect? He is literally singing a song of himself, which he Leaves of Grass is like reading every single instant message that I and a friend of mine ever wrote to one another over the course of the last ten years.

He is literally singing a song of himself, which he believes to be American - and is American by all accounts. He shouts it loud and strong and keeps repeating it until the reader gets it. But in there in that persistance is a thing of real, American beauty - a self-made man in love with his country and the people in it.

Real unhumble patriotism. To understand this in all it's ragged glory is to understand Whitman and his America. View all 5 comments. Jun 22, Lisa rated it really liked it.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman | cosenefuno.tk: Books

Too long ago to remember. All I recall was the flow. I've not read anything from this author since I was about Nearly 40 years ago. I loved it. Sometimes things I loved then aren't what I love now. So, I don't re-read! I was softer then. Now, I might find my eyes rolling right out of my eye sockets!

I love Robert Service. That's about as deep as I go now. Still, he has a few that I've read multiple times, and every time I think of them, and start uttering the words, I have nightmares! Apr 12, Collin rated it did not like it Shelves: gave-up-on. Holy shit this is self-important and tedious. I can think of a hundred books I'd rather start than finish this, so I doubt I'll pick it back up unless I run out of books to read, I'm too poor to buy any more books, all my friends turn on me and refuse to loan me anything else, and all the nearby libraries are set on fire simultaneously.

View all 6 comments. Did you know that the letters in "Leaves of Grass" can be rearranged to spell "Asses of Gravel"? If you find yourself anagramming the letters in the title rather than reading the poetry, it's a good sign you're not into the book. But I really wanted some of whatever Whitman was smoking that made him so ecstatically, ebulliently enthusiastic about every molecule on the planet.

Including his own b. Was this guy sniffing glue along wit Did you know that the letters in "Leaves of Grass" can be rearranged to spell "Asses of Gravel"? Was this guy sniffing glue along with those arm-pits? I made it through about 85 pages, then let it go. Maybe I'll come back to it in the future.

There ARE some beautiful passages hiding in among all those exclamation marks. View all 7 comments. There's only so much rhetoric on American imperialism I can ingest and assimilate at a stretch. Later, Mr Whitman. Oct 05, anna readingpeaches rated it it was ok Shelves: poetry , 2-lgbt , 2-lgbt-authors , beforeth-c , 2-mlm.

A child said, What is the grass? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped, Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose? I'm no expert on Walt Whitman, and given that this poem 'Song of Myself' has been celeb A child said, What is the grass?

I'm no expert on Walt Whitman, and given that this poem 'Song of Myself' has been celebrated by everyone from Neruda to Borges to Pessoa to Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society 'I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world' , I doubt I'm educating anyone by bringing it again to their attention. That said, this was just what I needed this morning as I warmed into my first day alone in the country after too many weeks of a lack of privacy so intense that I have read and written almost nothing.

Nervous, wondering if I might piss away the week allotted to me if I couldn't become inspired, I flicked idly through these pages over coffee, remembering, as I often have in the maybe ten years since I first read them, how they once impressed me, and soon found myself enthralled, a tear in my eye, as I read of the child and his unanswerable question. Now, by any popular notion of the word I am not religious, and I have a handful of staunchly anti-religious friends who'll attest to it, though I'll own that these friends strike me as both too literal-minded and too combative they 'protesteth too much' , and that these days I either ignore or attempt to dissuade them every time they head off on a rant, so narrow and senseless and insensitive do such rants seem to me.

The point is: God? Hell, to be honest I could give a shit, at least as regards any organised religion's conception of the subject.

But something in that line about the handkerchief 'that we may see and remark, and say Whose? I hear and behold God in every object, yet I understand God not in the least, Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself. Why should I wish to see God better than this day? I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then, In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass; I find letters from God dropped in the street, and every one is signed by God's name, And I leave them where they are, for I know that others will punctually come forever and ever.

Forever and ever. The constant mystery we know is beyond our powers to explain; even the smallest child who looks at the stars knows that. The constant, ever-renewing mystery which we can tap into now and then, loafing and 'observing a spear of summer grass', but which ultimately we must, again and again, leave behind, knowing it will never go away, but equally that we cannot gaze at it for long. I celebrate myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you These are the thoughts of all men in all ages in all lands, they are not original with me, If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing or next to nothing, If they do not enclose everything they are next to nothing, If they are not the riddle and the untying of the riddle they are nothing, If they are not just as close as they are distant they are nothing It is you talking just as much as myself I act as the tongue of you, It was tied in your mouth Big words, huh?

As bold as can be. As earnest and without irony Pessoa did it with irony yet hardly at all portentous or laughable. Strange, that Whitman should say here 'Logic and sermons never convince', when it seems that this whole epic rant all 60 pages is the sermon to end all sermons. But he admits to contradicting himself, explaining 'I am large I contain multitudes. Stand back! Give me a little time beyond my cuffed head and slumbers and dreams and gaping, I discover myself on a verge of the usual mistake. That I could forget the mockers and insults! That I could forget the trickling tears and the blows of the bludgeons and the hammers!

That I could look with a separate look on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning! For all its joy and exulting in the simple fact of life, 'Song of Myself' is ever aware of suffering: 'the suicide on the bloody floor of the bedroom', the runaway slave 'He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and passed north' , 'the mother condemned for a witch and burnt with dry wood, and her children gazing on'. I do not ask the wounded person how he feels I myself become the wounded person' I play not a march for victors only I play great marches for conquered and slain persons This is the meal pleasantly set I make appointments with all I am the poet of commonsense and of the demonstrable and of immortality; And am not the poet of goodness only I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also I don't claim that Whitman's work is perfect, and in fact I skipped or skimmed several passages this morning I've never been one for lists, and Whitman, in his passion to encompass multitudes — of people and places — is occasionally enamoured of them , but I do think 'Song of Myself' is some kind of a masterpiece.

I agree though not necessarily with the 'insane' part. With its insistence on a universal spirit beyond the senses or the intellect, and its bold adoption of the voice of that spirit, it resembles nothing so much as one of those letters dropped in the street, signed with the name of God. I said it is without irony, but a gentle self-mockery runs through it, enough to convince us of the humility of the man as he wrestles his personality into submission to hear snatches of the inner voice. I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop some where waiting for you. Leaves of Grass was self-published by Whitman, a printer's assistant, in Brooklyn in View all 4 comments. I love these last three stanzas especially. When my wife and I were dating long distance and when I was deployed, I would end alot of my letters with "I stop somewhere waiting for you. You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blo "Song of Myself" is a work of pure genius comparable to Shakespeare's greatest.

I read it in my living room. Read it by the sea. Read it in the afternoon, at sunset and at night. I read it from mid-winter through mid-spring. Read it while sad, read it while content, read it while not giving a fuck. I read it and understood it, read it and misinterpreted it. I read it. Do I seem weird? Do I care? Mar 11, Anima rated it really liked it. Shelves: poetry , all-timefavorites , favorites. Literary rapture. I don't know how else I could describe my first experience reading Leaves of Grass.

It was pure literary rapture. I highly recommend Leaves of Grass to everyone - especially those who still believe, or want to believe, in the basic goodness of the American Experiment. Pick up the slim first edition Whitman revised and expanded Leaves of Grass throughout his life. The final product, which is what is most often seen on bookshelves, is a bloated, redundant beast. Read the whole t Literary rapture. Read the whole thing, introduction included, preferably in one sitting. It will change you. View all 3 comments. I fell in love with his poetry then, of course, not all of his poetry is shown, for the film speaks more of literature and its importance to human consciousnesses, rather than the different dead poets, but it did introduce me to "O Captain!

My Captain! I would however, not refer to him as Homer or Dante, I do not believe there might come a poet that will compare to the scope of those two, the closest I can get to someone compared to Whitman would be, maybe, Emily Dickinson. A minority of the poems in this collection, but to me the most important at the time, deal a lot with preserving the union of the states, instead of what the South advocated, a separation. One of the greatest economical disasters in the history of the US With Song of Myself , which mostly speaks of private freedom, some have interpret it to mean his sexuality, but I have always thought of it as the entire "freedom" aspect, in a time where slavery was rampant.

He was well known for opposing slavery, of course, he still had the skewed ideas of the time even though he considered himself egalitarian, and later on he saw abolition as a threat, which is one of the many points I disagree with him. Now, the vast majority deals with sexuality. I am more of an allegorical pal myself, but these poems are not at all offensive, people back then were prudes. All this said, I do not agree with the "historical" consensus that this work is one of the greatest things to have come out of the United States.

I believe many other poets, novelist, and short story writers, have contributed much more, not only to American literature, but to world literature.

To say his work is the best of all, is kind of silly. But I am still going to re-read these poems in the future, I wish to see how much more my views can be influential to me. First the pros : Whitman's free verse is years ahead of its time. I kept having to remind myself that he published this work in Wordsworth had only been dead for five years, Tennyson and Browning were at the height of their powers and Longfellow was still churning them out.

Whitman was an important moderniser. His verse has tremendous energy. It crackles off the page and I was often swept giddily along by the blizzard of words. Plus, there are some truly striking images to be found.

Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman

At its be First the pros : Whitman's free verse is years ahead of its time. At its best, his poetry is deeply evocative yet also disorientating, allowing the reader to see the "mundane" through new eyes. This is linked to Whitman's celebration of ordinary men and women, which I also welcomed. While Tennyson was writing about Greek myths and Browning was constructing the interior monologues of Renaissance aristocrats, Whitman's focus was the beauty and profundity of the everyday.

In this respect he was the heir to Wordsworth. Finally, his positivity is forcefully expressed and can be uplifting or even inspiring. This caveat brings us to the cons : There are, frankly, way too many words. Image tumbles after imagine in an incontinent stream. I'm sure this was intentional; Whitman wants to overwhelm the reader and the sheer variety of people, objects, occupations, landscapes, etc can sometimes produce a sense of wonder. But it can also bore the reader as Whitman hammers his point into the ground for page after page.

Like Dylan Thomas, he seems to have had a facile knack for poetic turns of phrase - they just flowed out of him. But the danger is that the significance of his words diminishes as their volume spirals towards infinity. Finally, there is something a bit cheap about Whitman's unfailingly positive mysticism. All is good, he blithely assures us, even suffering, pain, ruin and death. But there's absolutely no sense that he's had to struggle to achieve this benign equanimity.

He was what William James described as a "healthy-minded", "once-born" writer; someone who was constitutionally incapable of being distressed by the darker side of life. As a result, his mysticism can seem less like an insight and more like a sort of cheerful stupidity.

He is not so much a Buddha as a village idiot with an exceptional vocabulary. View 1 comment. Few people know that I curl up with Song of Myself whenever i am depressed. I think, as many do, that the affirmation and daring and greed and urgency Few people know that I curl up with Song of Myself whenever i am depressed.

I think, as many do, that the affirmation and daring and greed and urgency in Whitman's poem is somehow the essence of the American spirit as it is distinct from all others. Aug 16, Manny marked it as to-read Shelves: why-not-call-it-poetry. To quote Robert Louis Stevenson: …like a large shaggy dog just unchained scouring the beaches of the world and baying at the moon. But let's look at the positive side. Monica Lewinsky gave a copy to Bill Clinton as a present. View all 27 comments. Aug 26, Emily rated it did not like it Shelves: dnf , classics. Holy crap this is boring and pretentious.

Admittedly, I don't like poetry, but I'm trying to make my way through some books that are considered classics. This is a DNF for me. IMO, poetry needs to rhyme. I'll stick with Dr. Seuess from now on. And for strong upright men I bring yet more needed help. I heard what was said of the universe, Heard it and heard it of several thousand years; It is middling well as far as it goes—but is that all? He reminds me that there is so much to celebrate, reminds me that what has been said is not all. The end of Song of Myself is breathtaking.

And why should I not speak to you? Then, to learn the better side, read Pioneers, O Pioneers, with its steady, splendid, masculine swing, as of a people marching, and its inspiriting sense of comradeship and New World progress; the terse and imaginative lines to the Man-of-War-Bird; or the wonderful sea-shore elegy that begins, "Out of the cradle endlessly rocking.

The same may be said of that night-poem on the death of Lincoln, which contains an impressive chant to Death, the "dark mother always gliding near with soft feet. And, throughout, the sentiment of democracy, of manliness, of hope for humanity, is something to be valued in Whitman's work.


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He sings, "Muscle and pluck forever! But when we consider Whitman's laudation of the flesh, the case is different. It is fitting to recall here the cardinal points of his creed in this regard. He himself says, "Nor will my poems do good only, they will do just as much harm, perhaps more. But the plan he pursues results just as badly as if this had been his purpose; for he makes public and permanent all that which nature has guarded, in both the savage and the civilized, with mystery, holiness, and the delicate, inexorable laws of modesty. Oddly enough this elaborately natural poet breaks one of the deepest and finest of natural laws; and instead of making the body sacred, he despoils it of the sacredness which mankind now generally accords to it.

He degrades body and soul by a brutish wallowing in animal matter as animal matter, deprived of its spiritual attributes. Whitman prides himself on his healthiness. What is health? Nothing else than the buoyant, normal exercise of physical faculties, in easy unconsciousness of their mode of acting. The moment there is friction, the moment we become conscious of these functions—in heart, stomach, or brain, for example—which ought to be carried on without sensation, health is broken, and sickness supervenes.

In like manner, when Mr. Whitman begins to finger over and brood upon the secret processes of certain functions which should work unobserved, he becomes unhealthy. Corrupt he may not be, but he is undeniably morbid. It is his ambition to be "inclusive," to express extremes of good and evil; to fly from one pole to another, in everything. In the sphere of the body he accomplishes this manoeuvre perfectly; for his presentation of man's physical being is as often diseased as the reverse.

He does not seem to be aware of his "inclusiveness" in this direction. If made so, he might reply with these peremptory words from his Song of Myself:—. Very well, then, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.