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Why is much of Drum-Taps from a Soldier’s View?

I’m having trouble reconciling Whitman’s desire to portray the war honestly and his poems that are set in the midst of battle. I suppose it is a naïve assumption, but, before Drum-Taps, I felt that the voice in Whitman’s poetry was his own. In Drum-Taps, however, this is obviously not the case, as Whitman never […] […]

Sarah for Oct 6

The progression of the War, and Walt Whitman’s changing perception of it, is clearly depicted in Drum-Taps. The first several poems in the series are about the glory of the war to come, invoking the memories of an old Revolutionary War veteran even. “Song of the Banner at Daybreak” exemplifies this section, with the different […] […]

Sarah Lawless for Sept. 22

Walt Whitman is confusing me. His song of himself “Walt Whitman” seems very differetn from the first version that I found so novel and problematic. This poem seems very refined in comparison, and controlled too, which I consider the effect of the poem’s divisions. His voice is stronger in this poem, I feel, although less […] […]

Written Amidst the Death Throes of a Laptop

“Another symptom is the need felt by individuals of being even sternly sincere. This is the one great means by which alone progress can be essentially furthered. Truth is the nursing mother of genius. No man can be absolutely true to himself, eschewing cant, compromise, servile imitation, and complaisance, without becoming original, for there is […] […]

Sarah Lawless for Sept. 1

In the preface to the 1855 edition to Leaves of Grass, Whitman tells of the master poet. The qualities this poet is to have are numerous: American, embodying the American spirit, not slave to rhyme and meter, not veiling his poems in obscure language, etc. Is Whitman here speaking of what his work as a […] […]