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Old 02-01-2012, 12:34 PM   #1
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Post Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

What are your thoughts on Leaves of Grass?

Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion.

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Old 02-02-2012, 06:46 AM   #2
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Discussion period started already? I'm enjoying it but I'm not really that far into it yet. Reading several books at once...
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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I feel that in the longer poems especially one must take Whitman in small doses. Then one can appreciate those moments when his poetry erupts into an incandescent fire. Here's a section of "Song of Myself" which is amazing in its erotic power:

"Still nodding night! Mad naked summer night!

Smile O voluptuous coolbreathed earth!
Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!
Earth of departed sunset! Earth of the mountains misty-topt!
Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!
Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!
Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake!
Far-swooping elbowed earth! Rich apple-blossomed earth!
Smile, for your lover comes!

Prodigal! you have given me love! . . . . therefore I to you give love!
O unspeakable passionate love!"

I think one really has to pause at moments like that!

Last edited by fantasyfan; 02-05-2012 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:44 PM   #4
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Lots of great stuff in that one!

Quote:
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?

I hasten to inform him or her that it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new -wash'd babe, and am not contain'd between my hat and my boots,
Quote:
The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,
I peeringly view them from the top.

The suicide sprawls on the bloody floor of the bedroom,
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol has fallen.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I find the introduction interesting too. The word atom was fairly new at the time and his views are very inclusive, not person centric.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:34 PM   #6
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i just got this book and im going to start reading it. Im hoping its a good one!!
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:50 PM   #7
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ok i started it and im on page 6 and its ok but theres some words, i admit i have NO idea what they mean! Thank God for the dictionary! Eidolon. I had no idea what that meant!
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:48 AM   #8
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He uses a large diction, I had to look up: scrofula, decillion, tilth, ateliers, ostent, savan, effuse, promulge, cantatrice, imperturbe, throbbest, isthmus, vivify, comity, omnes, kelson...

He uses some different spellings too, not sure if they are from the period or his own. Kanada and Kanadian and kosmos with a K, mixt, colter, adobie, loafe...
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:37 AM   #9
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He also isn't averse to making up his own words for his verse.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:49 AM   #10
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I havent read anymore tonight, my battery is getting low and i dont know when my power adapter will be here.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:13 AM   #11
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No USB charge? Read on your laptop or computer or phone with an app?

I'm surprised by how readable Leaves of Grass has been, engrossing poetry!
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:20 AM   #12
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One of the most beautiful parts of Leaves is the later addition of the magnificent set of poems for Lincoln in "When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomed" A particularly wonderful section is the "Death Carol":


DEATH CAROL.

16

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.

Prais’d be the fathomless universe, 140
For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious;
And for love, sweet love—But praise! praise! praise!
For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding Death.

Dark Mother, always gliding near, with soft feet,
Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome? 145

Then I chant it for thee—I glorify thee above all;
I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.

Approach, strong Deliveress!
When it is so—when thou hast taken them, I joyously sing the dead,
Lost in the loving, floating ocean of thee, 150
Laved in the flood of thy bliss, O Death.

From me to thee glad serenades,
Dances for thee I propose, saluting thee—adornments and feastings for thee;
And the sights of the open landscape, and the high-spread sky, are fitting,
And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night. 155

The night, in silence, under many a star;
The ocean shore, and the husky whispering wave, whose voice I know;
And the soul turning to thee, O vast and well-veil’d Death,
And the body gratefully nestling close to thee.

Over the tree-tops I float thee a song! 160
Over the rising and sinking waves—over the myriad fields, and the prairies wide;
Over the dense-pack’d cities all, and the teeming wharves and ways,
I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee, O Death!
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpulley View Post
...I'm surprised by how readable Leaves of Grass has been, engrossing poetry!
Amen to that. Previously, I had only a brief acquaintance with a few of the poems, but reading the entire book (I'm nowhere near finished reading the book, although I have finished listened to the entire Librivox series) has been a mind-opener. I've never enjoyed poetry so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post
One of the most beautiful parts of Leaves is the later addition of the magnificent set of poems for Lincoln in "When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomed" A particularly wonderful section is the "Death Carol":


DEATH CAROL.

16

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....
All too many poets dwell endlessly on death and the negative aspects of the human experience, but Whitman seems to find beauty in everything, even in its closure.

"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..."
(from "Song of Myself").
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpulley View Post
I'm surprised by how readable Leaves of Grass has been, engrossing poetry!
I spent a good amount of time reading biographical information before starting the poems. I'm surprised too at how accessible his poetry has been to understanding and connecting to the reader. I don't read much poetry because I believe many poems try too hard and aren't worth the effort required to puzzle out the author's point. I was also surprised at how long the poems are, but the phrasing just flows together so well that you get caught up in the poem and it's almost like reading a short story. His writing is so grand and sweeping that you can just feel the potential of America that it must have felt like in his time period. Maybe it's because I live in the West and have a different perspective on growth and the Age of Manifest Destiny and the magnificent beauty of nature out here and all that.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:05 AM   #15
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I'm not too big on poetry
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