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In Advance of Our DC Trip . . .

Kim Roberts, who’ll be our guide on Saturday (, has sent these for us: a map of our tour and an image of the haversack Whitman took on his rounds to the hospitals. Map by Emery Pajer. We will be seeing work places 8 through 11 on our walking tour, and boarding house location 7. […]

Erin for 9/20

Every week, I feel like I learn something new about Whitman. This week I learned that Whitman was apparently a racist. I suppose I had just assumed that since he was a forward thinker, and that he wrote about sheltering a runaway slave in Song of Myself that he was for equality. Of course this […] […]

Courtney for 10/20

Whitman himself warned an admirer, “You must not construct such an unauthorized and imaginary ideal Figure, and call it W.W. and so devotedly invest your loving nature in it. The actual W.W. is a very plain personage, and entirely unworthy such devotion.” I think that this quote reveals a lot about Whitman and his attitudes […] […]

More Videos from 10/3 Field Trip


Erin for 10/6

A lot of what I was thinking about this week had to do with how Whitman compares to other civil war poets. Since my presentation this week is on “other civil war poetry” I’ve been reading Drum-Taps with the other poets in mind. It’s still weird to me how often times Whitman seems like he’s […] […]

Jessica Pike for October 6th

The first thought that crossed my mind after reading all of “Drum-Taps” was that the Civil War had humbled Walt Whitman. It is difficult for me to imagine the 1855 Whitman and the 1892 Whitman as the same individual. In the 1855 Leaves of Grass Whitman even admits that he is egotistical and writes, “I […] […]

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 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 […] […]

Virginia for September 29th

Whitman, especially in his Memoranda during the War, sounds like a poster child for the United Daughters of the Confederacy. However, and obviously, he isn’t rallying for people to “nevah fahgit tha gret wahr”, but simply to never forget the men and boys who gave their life. He seems to be terrified that if he […] […]

Donne with Whitman

So, Dr. Scanlon briefly mentioned a connection between death and sex in This Compost! last class, and that’s what I’ll explore here. Why the mention of John Donne in my post title? Well, he was brought to mind by this Whitman line: “Perhaps every mite has once form’d part of a sick person — Yet behold!” This […] […]

Eternal Frequencies

Mara Scanlon, who is quickly becoming a blogger extraordinaire, just blogged about a podcast by Nate DiMeo that discusses Guglielmo Marconi vision of sound waves as a crazy idea of eternal recurrence. To quote Mara: According to Nate DiMeo, late … Continue reading […]

Virginia S. for September 22

So, I’ve worked retail for two years now. Those years have honed my skill for picking up items that are easy to sell, harder to sell, create selling points for the customer, etc. After finishing most of the readings between the 1855 and 1867 editions, I was looking back and comparing the table of contents. […] […]

Erin for 9/22

So one of the major things that really stuck out to me, as lame is this might be, was the punctuation adjustments going on between these two versions. It seems that in the deathbed edition, Whitman removed a lot of the commas throughout the poems, as well as dashes (which he sometimes replaced with commas […] […]

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 […] […]

Sam Krieg for September 22

We have talked at great length in class about how Whitman worked to construct a public image of himself as the great American poet: When I Read the Book seems to be a reflection by the poet on the fact that his control over his image is really quite limited. Just as Whitman rails […] […]

Meghan for Sept 22

“Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” is perhaps one of my newest favorite Whitman poems. The theme of death is rampant in it, and at times, the imagery of the lost mates made me ache. But, despite all the loss, there is hope within the text; to quote a great movie and even greater king, […] […]

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 […] […]

Whitman…I am your stalker.

After learning about this Whitman course last spring, I made myself familiar with Whitman’s background by reading a biography. Thus, I can’t really think of a specific question–only that I wish I could have seen what Whitman saw when he was in NYC. I loooove NYC, my brother moved from our podunk town to the […] […]

Question on Walt Whitman

I was wondering what Walt Whitman’s religious upbringings were? We have talked a lot about him as a prophet-like figure, so I did not know what religious influences he had growing up. […]

Erin for September 15th.

So, Whitman. Sex. Right. Even though Whitman uses a lot of sexual and sensual language in his poetry, I have a really hard time accepting the speaker as a sexual being. I don’t really feel like Whitman spoke to me here. In “Song of Myself” I felt really connected to a lot of those passages, there were some beautiful […] […]

Whitman’s Procreative Men and Women

As frustrated as I grow as a non-procreator while reading “Children of Adam” and its “Singing the song of procreation” (248), I’m trying to keep in mind nineteenth-century contexts of reproduction. Whitman would have been surrounded by what we in the twenty-first century would likely deem “excessive” procreation. In part to combat high infant mortality and to […] […]

Whitmanic Fireman

Ah, so much for a sustained, methodical relating of my family’s nineteenth century to Whitman’s! (Perhaps a quick Burns quotation … just to show that we’re not wholly Amero-centric: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley, / An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, / For promised joy.”) But, […] […]

Walt Whitman and Allan Gurganus

I think that, like most of the folks in the seminar, I am seeing Whitman “everywhere” now. I most recently encountered a Whitmanic echo in contemporary southern fiction writer Allan Gurganus’s collection of short stories and novellas White People. That collection features the 1989 story “Reassurance.” The story’s first half is a full quotation of Whitman’s letter […] […]

Virginia for September 15th

As I was reading for this posting, I had something on my mind. In one of my other English classes, someone insinuated Whitman as just a gay old man. He said some more unsavory things towards my Whitman, and I immediately shot up my hand and said that I was in love with Whitman and […] […]