Articles and Features

Walt Whitman

Birthday May 31, 1819

Week of May 31, 1998

Here we go again in the education of Laura Moncur. Walt Whitman was yet another name stored in my memory without a face or any other information, save that he was a poet and probably said many profound things. Little did I know this was the man who coined the phrase "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" A contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, he was a medical assistant in the Civil War and a emotionally patriotic man.

Some of this week's quotes are longer than normal, but it is entirely necessary to preserve the meaning. Dive into the poetry of Walt Whitman and learn with me.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

"The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing."
"A child said What is grass? fetching it to one with full hands
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of the hopeful green stuff woven.
of I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners,
that we may see and remark, and say Whose?...
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves."
Song of Myself, 1855
"Nothing endures but personal qualities."
"Come lovely and soothing death,
Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
Sooner or later, delicate death."
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, 1865-1866
"Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
Song of the Open Road
"I celebrate myself, and sing myself."
Song of Myself, 1855
"I dream'd in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream'd that was the new city of Friends."
I Dream'd in a Dream
"Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty year old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn these, seeking you."
Full of life now
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For more information about Walt Whitman, try these links:
  • The Poetry of Walt Whitman - A biography and lots of links, including one to Whitmanland (I don't even want to know). Provided by Globalink.
  • Walt Whitman and the Development of Leaves of Grass - A fairly bland site. There is a biography and information about the hypertext version of Leaves of Grass, but mostly, it was included because they have a picture of Walt Whitman.
  • The Walt Whitman Home Page - Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this site provides actual scanned images of Walt Whitman's notebooks. Each document takes forever to download, so I wouldn't recommend it as a method of reading his works. This is more a look into the hand of the man.
  • Leaves of Grass - Complete transcription of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman provided by Columbia University.
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