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Putting My Whitman Where My Womb Is

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

Seance at Scanlon’s?

And guess who followed ME home? […]

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 […] […]

S/T-weet Victory

Cartoon Free Lance Star, 11/3/09 […]

Favorite Manuscript Moment

I am indebted to Other Sam for drawing my attention to this very moving detail. One of the best things I saw at the Library of Congress was Whitman’s letter of December 29, 1862 (that is, exactly 106 years before the day I was born), to his mother about finding George in Fredericksburg. We were […] […]

Free tickets to Ford’s Theater for 19 people through Ticketmaster plus $2.00 access fee? $49.50. Thirteen hours of parking for three vehicles? $30.00. Bodily presence? Priceless.

Immediacy is something the Reverend talks about as a benefit of the blog, social networking technologies, and the great digital experiment that is Looking for Whitman. Presence. Accessibility. These are words we use a lot. So this week a question has been dogging me while I process Digital Whitman’s Saturday field trip to Washington City. […] […]

Saturday, October 24, Washington City: Some Info

Whitmaniacs, A few notes for Saturday (check for updates!): 1. Carpool rendez-vous: Jefferson Circle behind Combs at 9:00 a.m. 2. Parking in DC: 1201 F St. NW, 20005 Take 95 North to 395 North (follow signs from 95 for 395/495/Washington/Tysons) On 395, take 12th Street exit toward L’Enfant Promenade 12th Street (follow slight left at 11th St SW/12th street tunnel) Left onto […] […]

Under My Bootsoles Everywhere

I was reading in yesterday’s Washington Post in a piece called “Beyond ‘Great,’ to Exemplary” that Whitman’s “O Captain!” is one of about five works identified by the National Standards Initiative as it tries to give guidance to high school teachers about what students should know– with Austen, Morrison, and a few others, it was […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

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 […] […]

May 1864

This is the mansion in which the President of the University of Mary Washington resides today, which sits on the Sunken Road battlefield and was used by Confederates during the battle and later as a hospital. Shown here with rifle pits in front. […]

What to Walt Whitman is the Fourth of July? A Belated Catalogue

This summer has found me thinking a lot more about the basic concept of our course: Whitman and place. “Place” to me is emerging not just as the streets of Fredericksburg and DC, though that is powerful, but also as a place in time or history–where is Whitman now, here? My ideas about it are […] […]

Song(s) of Myself

When I read Brady’s comment on my last post, I felt a shock of (non) recognition. The lines of WW’s that Brady quoted were absolutely perfect for that post (thank you, Brady!) and I wished like anything I’d thought of them myself. But I couldn’t have, because I swear to god they weren’t in the […] […]

American Nutshell

For me, the real highlights of our Camden trip were of course the graveyard and house visits. What I can’t shake about the house on what used to be Mickle Street is the juxtaposition of signifiers: home of Walt Whitman, inspired, experimental communicator, Civil War nurse, poet-philosopher of democracy and national optimist + the broadened, […] […]