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Meghan’s Image Gloss

“To his work without flinching the accoucheur comes…” (”Song of Myself” 85) An accoucheur is a french term used to describe a male midwife, or obstetrician. It was first bestowed upon Juliann Clement by King Louis XIV in order to distinguish his work from the much more disregarded midwives. Following this, the study of birth became […] […]

Image Gloss – Fish-smack

“The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,” (Song of Myself, 41) “or off on a cruise with fishers in a fishing smack” (”Walt Whitman, A Brooklyn Boy”) Smack, n.: 1. A single-masted sailing-vessel, fore-and-aft rigged like a sloop or cutter, and usually of light burden, chiefly employed as a coaster or for […] […]

Virginia’s Image Gloss

“The Yankee clipper is under her three skysails. . . .she cuts the sparkle and scud, My eyes settle the land . . . . I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck.” p. 35, Song of Myself SCUD: As a noun: Main Entry: 2scud Function: noun Date: 1609 1 : the action of scudding : rush 2 […] […]

Ben’s Image Gloss

What exactly is a Calumet? “In arriere the peace talk with the Iroquois the aborigines, the calumet, the pipe of good-will, arbitration, and indrosement.” (”Our Old Feuillage” page 321) According to, the calumet is: “a long-stemmed, ornamented tobacco pipe used by North American Indians on ceremonial occasions, esp. in token of peace.” How this functions then, in terms of Whitman’s poetry […] […]

Image Gloss – Embouchure

“I sound triumphal drums for the dead….I fling through my embouchures the loudest and gayest music to them,” From Pronunciation: \ˈäm-bü-ˌshu̇r, ˌäm-bü-ˈ\ Function: noun Etymology: French, from (s’)emboucher to flow into, from en- + bouche mouth — more at debouch Date: 1760 1 : the position and use of the lips, tongue, and teeth in playing a wind instrument 2 : the mouthpiece […] […]

Caryn’s ImageGloss

And that a kelson of the creation is love; (p 31) What is a kelson? keelson noun a structure running the length of a ship and fastening the timbers or plates of the floor to its keel. kelson n. variant spelling of keelson . The Oxford Dictionary of English (2nd edition revised) James Rumsey’s Steamboat […] […]

Sam P.’s Image Gloss

A brief index of the more colorful place names in “Song of the Broad-Axe.” […]

Sam Krieg’s Image Gloss

“I hear the bravuras of birds… the bustle of growing wheat… gossip of flames… clack of sticks cooking my meals” (Song of Myself 53). A bravura can be either a noun or an adjective. As a noun, it is generally associated with music, meaning a ”Brilliant technique or style in performance… [or] A piece or passage that emphasizes a performer’s virtuosity.” […] […]

Image Gloss

From ‘A Song for Occupations” …The work and tools of the rigger, grappler, sail-maker, block-maker, of gutta-percha, papier-mache, colors, brushes, brush-making, glazier’s implements… What is Gutta Percha? Gutta percha is a plant, native to tropical areas like Southeast Asia. In the 1850’s, it was used in the Western world mainly to carve furniture and jewelry. Established in 1847, the Gutta […] […]

Chelsea’s Image Gloss

“Where triphammers crash….where the press is whirling its cylinders” (60) Triphammer: a massive power hammer having a head that is tripped and allowed to fall by cam or lever action (Merriam-Webster) See how a triphammer works… ( Triphammers were often powered by a water wheel and are known to have been used as early as 20 AD in China. […] […]

Image Gloss

“The camera and plate are prepared, the lady must sit for her daguerreotype” (Whitman 41). The daguerreotype is a type of photograph that was invented in 1839 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. The photographic image is made on a photo-sensitive silver compound, silver halide, and developed by exposing the image to mercury vapor. The image produced is extremely […] […]

Image Gloss

“The quadroon girl is sold at the stand…. ” (39). Quadroon: Someone of 1/4 Black ancestry. A term used in The South during the 19th century. This was during the time of Jim Crow laws and the “one drop” rule, in which anyone with any amount of Black ancestry was considered Black. Jade, from America’s Next Top […] […]