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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’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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

Whitman in Maryland

I came across this story and video (do NOT skip the video, which features the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!”, t-shirts with Whitman in slouch hat, a bad rendition of “I Kissed a Girl,” people spouting such hate it will give you shivers, and the weirdest dancing religious prostester I’ve seen in a long time) about […] […]

Other umw comments on WW

Here is something I came across on umwblogs from a first-year seminar that discussed Whitman in relation to banned and dangerous art. […]

Tuning in to Whitman

As I trekked around F’burg this morning with my dog Groundhog, I was listening to a podcast from The Memory Palace about Marconi, credited often with inventing the radio. Download According to Nate DiMeo, late in his life, Marconi came to believe that sound waves never disappeared, but rather went on and on, infinitely in time and […] […]

for lovers of the book

Dr. Earnhart and I were bemoaning the fact that the online 1867 edition doesn’t include cover shots (something like glamour shots, but a little more satisfying). I wanted to provide this link to another element of the vast Whitman Archive that supplements a little , though 1867 has many fewer images than other editions. But […] […]

The Sickbed Edition

Like many of you, I’ve been thinking a lot about the body-soul claims of Whitman: does the emphasis on body objectify (as surely Whitman’s attempt to write the body does since it becomes basically a ludicrously detailed blazon)? do we have souls that are separable from our bodies, in ways that Brendon detailed through philosophical history […] […]

Whitman Digital; or, a quotation poem with apologies to Dan Cohen

This afternoon I heard a lecture by Dan Cohen called “The Future of the Digital University,” and as I listened I started this list of words and phrases he said, in the order he said them, that seemed to me to be about WW as much as about the digital world, showing yet again the […] […]

Reading clarification for Tuesday

“Calamus Love” by Reynolds ends on page 4o3, not 407 as the syllabus says. (Thanks, Chelsea!) […]

Under My Bootsoles 3

I had been meaning to post this Sharon Olds poem for several weeks, but it speaks directly to Chelsea’s post on Ginsberg. Let’s say it takes womanliness and Whitman to a new level. “The Language of the Brag” I have wanted excellence in the knife-throw, I have wanted to use my exceptionally strong and accurate arms and my straight […] […]

A Few Words from the Elders (READ THIS)

Hey Whitmaniacs, This post is really a series of reminders and guidelines. Boring (and overwhelming? I’m trying), but read on: Don’t forget to log on to your own individual blog and post from there rather than posting directly on the Digital Whitman blog, which is creating problems for some folks. Dr. Earnhart has confirmed the start time for […] […]

class notes on American lit 9/8

“Truth is the nursing mother of genius.”

Emerson (aka John the Baptist)’s “The Poet” 1844

America is everything—nothing is exempt from being American. We don’t need to focus on the separation between Old and New Worlds. But America does have a lot of subjects that do need to be “sung.” Active, […]

double standards?

I’ve been thinking about our discussion in class last week where some people were suspicious of Whitman on the grounds that he says everyone is equal but then clearly elevates himself as prophet or model (see self-reviews for his own discussion of this, by the way). I have had this same reaction to Whitman many […] […]

A few of my favorite things

These self-reviews are indeed delicious, and I don’t mean .com. Below I pasted just a few of my favorite moments– some that truly interest me for what he says about the new poetry or the reader– and some that are so funny (intentionally? please rule, Dr. Richards, but I suspect not) I actually laughed out […] […]

Dia-mono-(maniacal- bolical)-logic Whitman

Those of you who have suffered through other courses and projects with me know that one of my enduring obsessions is the dialogic and poetry. Dialogic can mean admitting or representing more than one or many voices, but a much richer definition would insist that it is more fundamentally an ethical encounter with the other […] […]

Twitter (courtesy of Dr. Richards)

twitter cartoon […]

watch out, world

I have the flip-cams. Let’s roll, people. […]

I love the man personally

Here is a piece on Lincoln from a blogger I fell in love with myself first through her incredibly funny children’s book What Pete Ate From A to Z. Since I am also increasingly obsessed with Abe, I appreciate the sentiment, and I enjoy imagining that her fantasies about a relationship with Lincoln layer right onto those of Whitman, standing […] […]


When Whitman says, “I contain multitudes,” or even, “I contradict myself,” he seems happy about the multiple identities that he occupies. I’ve been thinking about his imagined occupation of these many selves; for me and many other people I know, living in different roles (for me, primarily professor and mother) can be less harmonious and […] […]

March 1863: Lacy House (Chatham)

This is the home where Whitman found his brother George in December 1862 in the makeshift Union hospital, and spent a week visiting with soldiers before traveling to DC to begin his serious work as a spiritual missionary to the wounded. This image and the one below of Marye House (Brompton) are courtesy of a […] […]