…poet Walt Whitman was born.
From “Song of Myself“:
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 loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.
He’s considered to be one of the greatest American poets of all time, and is referred to by some as the father of free verse. He revised his most famous work, the collection Leaves of Grass, several times over the course of his life. The poems in Leaves of Grass take delight in and praise the senses, which led to much controversy when it was first published, as that sensibility was not considered decent at the time. We have Leaves of Grass and a few other collections in our poetry section, and we have at least three biographies of Whitman in the library, as well as Robert Roper’s Now the Drum of War: Walt Whitman and His Brothers in the Civil War:
The Civil War is seen anew, and a great American family is brought to life, in Robert Roper’s brilliant evocation of the family Whitman.
Walt Whitman’s work as a nurse to the wounded soldiers of the Civil War had a profound effect on the way he saw the world. Much less well known is the extraordinary record of his younger brother George Washington Whitman, who led his men in twenty-one major battles almost to die in a Confederate prison camp as the fighting ended. Drawing on the searing letters that Walt, George, their mother Louisa, and their other brothers wrote to each other during the conflict, Now the Drum of War chronicles the experience of an archetypal American family enduring its own long crisis alongside the anguish of the nation. Robert Roper has constructed a powerful narrative about America’s greatest crucible, and a compelling, braided story of our most original poet and one of our bravest soldiers.
As always, if you would like to place a hold, please call the library at 985-2173 or visit our website.