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Putting My Whitman Where My Womb Is

In which I pay essentialist homage to the [Womanly?] Whitman. […]

Excellent Anecdote

John Burroughs in a letter about Whitman, 1864: He bathed today while I was there–such a handsome body, and such delicate rosy flesh I never saw before. I told him he looked good enough to eat, which, he said, he should consider a poor recommen… […]

Whitman at Life’s End

My reaction to our reading this week has been so mixed– in some ways, I feel a sense of closure, of finality as we focus on the last edition and the last days. That reflects, I think, the personal, human Whitman we have gotten attached to this semester, since obviously as a literature professor I […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

Of My Body

A theme that keeps arising in Whitman’s work is that of the body. He makes it very clear that, to him, one’s body is also one’s identity. In the poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” Whitman claims “I too had receiv’d identity by my body,/that I was I knew was of my body, and what I should […] […]