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For Brooklyn

Hi CUNY Whitman scholars, Here at UMW we’ve been finding poems that mention or respond to Whitman. This poem doesn’t do so directly, but it focuses on a love of Brooklyn that may resonate with your readings now: “On Leaving Brooklyn” after Psalm 137 If I forget thee let my tongue forget the songs it sang in this strange land and […] […]

Whitman and his Multitudes

So, in class tonight I was thinking about how many ways we’ve described Whitman. I thought it would be kind of cool to have a running list of the different names/personas we give to Whitman. I’m jotting down a few here, but since I don’t really have time to go back through all the blogs […] […]

Tim O’Sullivan’s Gettysburg Photos

Last week I mentioned these. The top one called “Harvest of Death” (!) is supposed to be a group of dead Confederate soldiers; the one with trees in the background Northerners. But if you look closely at the detail (flipped & zoomed) in the third frame, you realize it’s really the same group of soldiers […] […]

Whitman’s Notebooks (and a butterfly)

Whitmaniacs, go HERE NOW for a Library of Congress link for schoolteachers that has digitized images of some of Whitman’s notebooks, including from the Civil War (and a wrenching photo of a dead confederate solider in Spotsylvania). Don’t just look, READ: their names, their mother’s names, their ages, where they worked, where they’re from, which […] […]

Under My Bootsoles 7: “Nurse Whitman”

Again, Sharon Olds: You move between the soldiers’ cots the way I move among my dead, their white bodies laid out in lines. ____ You bathe the forehead, you bathe the lip, the cock, as I touch my father, as if the language were a form of life. _____ You write their letters home, I take the dictation of his firm dream lips, this boy I […] […]

Sam P. for Sept. 29

Whitman and/vs. battlefield preservation. Also, WWWDOTCOM: “What Woud Whitman Do to a COMputer?” […]

Sam Krieg for September 29

So, earlier in the semester, I posted about how Whitman’s soldier descriptions in Song of Myself were generalized and idealized, with a promise to update on how his writing changed once he got up close and personal with war. It’s hard to think of a better time to do just that. I am going […] […]

Chelsea for September 29

Whitman’s “batch of convulsively written reminiscences” (799) about the Civil War in “Specimen Days,” particularly his record of encounters with soldiers he cared for as a nurse, really started me thinking about what the war represented to Whitman. Obviously the day to day violence and massacre would take its toll on anyone, both physically and […] […]

Erin for 9/29

In response to the prompt and quote for this week, what did Whitman consider the “real” war to be? My interpretation, which could be wrong, is that Whitman saw the real war as the devastation that was felt by the families of soldiers and civilians, and the stories of the soldiers themselves. The history that […] […]

Jessica Pike for September 29

In the introduction to Memoranda, Whitman expresses his fears of the Civil War being forgotten and writes, “In the mushy influence of current times, the fervid atmosphere and typical events of those years are in danger of being totally forgotten” (5). However, in the lament Whitman gives, Whitman himself acknowledges that the “real war” can […] […]

Clara Barton Barbie?

Hey Whitmanics, I found this today while doing some research for my oral report- That’s right…Civil War Nurse Barbie. Note the complete medical kit, the shiny white apron and, of course, the golden smile. Now, for a little contrast- […]

Courtney for 9/28

I spent most of this weekend doing research for my oral report, which is on Civil War medicine and hospitals. I browsed through hundreds of images: Creepy ten-types of soldiers with vague expressions and stumps for legs. Dozens of wounded soldiers lying under trees waiting for medical attention, their arms and legs contorted like broken […] […]

Under My Bootsoles 6

As if that wasn’t enough: this one is actually Whitman! Cut from the ad, the final two lines of the poem: “A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother, / Chair’d in the adamant of Time.” […]

Under My Bootsoles 5

A former student, Amanda Rutstein, just sent me this link to a Levi’s commercial. I think you will recognize the poem (indeed, I think some of us have trashed it–does this change your mind?), but the images, sound effects (gun shots?), homoeroticism, etc. call for some analysis. Among other questions, would Whitman love this or […] […]

Virginia for September 29th

Whitman, especially in his Memoranda during the War, sounds like a poster child for the United Daughters of the Confederacy. However, and obviously, he isn’t rallying for people to “nevah fahgit tha gret wahr”, but simply to never forget the men and boys who gave their life. He seems to be terrified that if he […] […]

Whitman goes corporate

So, as I vegged out in between reading assignments today by watching football, I saw something very interesting: a Levi’s jeans commercial. This wasn’t just any jeans commercial though: it had what I thought sounded like a Whitman poem being recited. Upon further investigation, turns out I was right. Here is one version of the […] […]

Allison for Sept. 29 (My Birthday!)

I promise I will address the topic at hand this week, but first I must briefly continue the discourse from last week concerning Whitman’s stylistic (and personal?) change by cause of the war. Please excuse me as I quote at great length from The Better Angel: “One of the marks of any great writer is […] […]

Whitman the Man

Reading the chapter from Morris, which I loved by the way, I found myself feeling for Whitman in a way I hadn’t quite grasped before. We talked a lot last time about how his attitude towards the world, and specifically death, changed from 1855 to 1867. We talked about how seeing death up close would […] […]

Meghan for Sept 29

All right, so. The Civil War. It’s a subject we Southerners know like the back of our hands, and sometimes I think I learned what the Confederate flag was just as early as the American one (if only because I saw so many floating around the backs of every truck that passed me by. I […] […]

Donne with Whitman

So, Dr. Scanlon briefly mentioned a connection between death and sex in This Compost! last class, and that’s what I’ll explore here. Why the mention of John Donne in my post title? Well, he was brought to mind by this Whitman line: “Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick person — Yet behold!” This […] […]

Finding Whitman in Charlottesville

Hey Whitmaniacs, here’s a shiver-inducer: Today I was in C’ville for an appointment and when it was done, my traveling companion Professor Emerson and I decided to stretch our legs on the grounds of our alma mater. Professor Emerson has a friend who works in the new rare book facility, which I had not seen, and […] […]

Redesigning Looking for Whitman

As we all know by now, Whitman himself was intensely interested in typography and design, an interest that led him to design and redesign various editions of Leaves of Grass. As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve just completed a major first step in the redesign of our own web-based project. You should be seeing a new […] […]

Whitman on the F

This poem is one that I’ve been half-remembering for several weeks now but couldn’t recall who it was by or what the name of it was. I happened to pick up the book that this poem was in while I was eating breakfast this morning and I thought I’d post it. Just a note, I tried […] […]

Photographs of Fredericksburg During the Civil War

Part of the 6th Maine Infantry after the battle of Fredericksburg The town from the east bank of the Rappahonnock river, Fredericksburg, VA. March 1863 These are just some of the many pictures of Fredericksburg that were taken by Matthew Brady and his associates during the Civil War years. More pictures can be found at: […]

A Challenge

When I was reading Sam P.’s post this week, I commented that he and I had discussed that Whitman Immersion had affected our very way of encountering the world, even making us question if we were reading Whitman too much into everything we see and hear and do. I called this in the comment wearing […] […]