On Whitman (Writers on Writers)
C. K. Williams
In this ebook, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet C. ok. Williams units apart the mass of biography and literary feedback that has amassed round the paintings and individual of Walt Whitman, and makes an attempt to return to Leaves of Grass as he first encountered it, to discover why Whitman's epic "continues to encourage and infrequently daunt" him. the result's a private reassessment and appreciation of 1 grasp poet through one other, in addition to an unconventional and great introduction--or reintroduction--to Whitman.
briefly, thematic chapters with many quotations from Leaves of Grass, Williams explores the options, originality, and sheer genius of the poetry that has develop into, as he places it, "the subconscious" of a lot of the poetry of the United States and the realm. Williams can pay specific cognizance to the tune of Whitman's poetry, its blazing notion and massive human sympathy, its affecting anecdotes, and its gigantic solid of characters, in addition to to the unconventional nature of Whitman's first-person speaker, his freeing angle towards intercourse, and his unconventional rules approximately demise. whereas conveying the singularities of Whitman's paintings, Williams additionally indicates what Whitman had in universal with different nice poets of his time, reminiscent of Baudelaire, and the strong impact Whitman had on later poets equivalent to Eliot and Pound.
fantastically written and wealthy with perception, this can be a ebook that refreshes our skill to work out Whitman in all his power.
jointly, reinforcing one another: there's a self, there's an different, there's an act so excessive it may basically be embodied in anything like intercourse, and there's, nonetheless, the “you” of the self, all in concord jointly just like the strings of a musical software. and how the poem strikes over the subsequent stanza holiday (stanza breaks in Whitman suggest anything diversified from what they formerly had; they presage the leapings approximately of Surrealism and its half-delirious offshoots) as we pass the banks of this.
There’s nonetheless no method particularly to account for the way he accrued in any such few minutes such a lot of singular tools, such a lot of elements for the expression of his expertise; there has been no position he can have “learned” his craft: it advanced together with his identification, along with his very self. the recent manner of composing should have come abruptly; I think it should have felt like a few type of conversion event. There are only a few symptoms earlier than the 1855 version that this good thing was once approximately to happen. It’s as if his.
Of all that urban I bear in mind in simple terms the guy who wandered with me there, for romance of me, daily and evening by means of evening we have been jointly. All else has lengthy been forgotten through me—I consider, I say, just one impolite and ignorant guy who, while I departed, lengthy and lengthy held me by way of the hand, with silent lips, unhappy and tremulous. Whitman’s reticence, or outright deceptiveness, later in his existence at the topic used to be inconsistent, to claim the least. It’s frequently been mentioned that male love, no longer inevitably.
issues, now not one kneels to a different nor to his type that lived millions of years in the past, now not one is good or unsatisfied over the total earth. “Thousands of years ago….” so far as i do know, no poet ahead of Whitman took under consideration and poeticized the recent notions of evolutionary time that had only in the near past turn into present. It turns into a key a part of his physics and metaphysics. Eternity lies in bottomless reservoirs …. its buckets are emerging ceaselessly and ever, They pour they usually pour they usually exhale.
extraordinarily a lot. there have been influential voices round him, a few orators, a few non secular texts, that will be conceived of as generically just like the voice he devised. There’s the poet Samuel Warren, whose The Lily and the Bee Paul Zweig cites as having in all probability prompted Whitman, yet Warren’s tune, notwithstanding metrically free, is particularly clunky and inelegant; it should were for Whitman extra of an instance to be refrained from than emulated. and naturally there have been voices within the culture of poetry.