Sunday, May 13, 2012

Final Project

I sat and thought at my kitchen table, trying to come up with something for this Whitman project, sitting staring at my coffee wasn’t doing much so I began to ask myself a series of questions regarding Walt Whitman and the class. The professor wants us to show what we have learned from Whtiman, what do we know about Whitman?
What doI know about Whitman?
Well I know he is very visual, he sees everything and takes in everything, he has a way of bringing you into what he is watching, and how he is feeling. So I read song of myself, trying to feel, trying to cling on some words, to perhaps feel what Whitman felt when he wrote them. Then, finally, I stopped at a verse that I particularly liked,

"The city sleeps and the country sleeps, 
The living sleep for their time, the dead sleep for their time, 
The old husband sleeps by his wife and the young husband sleeps by 
his wife; 
And these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them, 
And such as it is to be of these more or less I am, 
And of these one and all I weave the song of myself.

As I thought more and more about this verse, I realized how much it had to do with me. Since this class has mostly been about us, our own personal relationship with Whitman, it seemed appropriate for me to make a project that entangled myself. Like Walt allows one to see what he sees, this is what I saw with this verse and I did my best to make it as it was in my mind...but what was in my mind was wayy better, but this should do it. (keep in my mind, I'm only one person! haha and I am not the best at technical stuff)

Thanks Walt Whitman, 
I will always look for the Leaves of the Grass

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


The way in which Ginsberg lists what the kind of people he sees is relate able to Whtiman. He is bringing attention to these people who might otherwise be overlooked,
"angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient"
Ginsberg includes America in his poetry as Whitman does, 
"who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural 
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse 
  of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain, 
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex"

A super market in California,
Just the title reminds me of Whtiman, in it's simplistic, very "American-like" sense, just a super market in California but it holds such significance to the country and what it means to Ginsberg. 
And to point out the obvious that he addresses Whtiman in this poem is very clear that Whitman has influenced him greatly.
It's difficult for me to decide whether Ginsberg is questioning Walt's way of looking at things or if he is glorifying him. 
This part in particular suggests maybe that Ginsberg never knows where Walt is going with his poetry and the questions he poses,

  "Where are we going, Walt Whitman?  The doors close in
an hour.  Which way does your beard point tonight?"

Or maybe be is trying to see the way Whitman saw things, Walt saw America in such a positive light, with hopefulness and ability where as Ginsberg seems a bit put down at the current state of the country. Ginsberg suggests that Walt would be confused and ask a lot of questions, 

 "I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber,
poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery
          I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the
pork chops?  What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rukeyser's Book of the Dead

I think Rukeyser is allowing the reader to become the one she is writing about. She wants the reader in the shoes of the ones she is talking about or have the ability to be in the position. 
She says,
 "These roads will take you into your own country" this line has the ability to relate to anyone, she is pointing out that this poem has regards to the reader.

I feel that in Whitman's, When Lilacs, he wants the reader close and to have a good view but not in the shoes of himself, Whitman I feel, likes to show and illuminate what he sees so that you will see it. He kind of tells you what you're doing, 
"as you drooped from the sky, low down as if to my side"

She uses you, to point to everyone reading the poem, to make the reader realize this poem is for them. 
"and you young, you who finishing the poem" She is speaking to the reader.

Whitman uses "you" as a sort of invitation, or to feel what he is doing or feeling.
 "I saw on the rim of the west how you were full of woe"

The ending of each poem holds a sense of the ability to carry on, though tragedy.Both poets give homage to the people involved to the memory and the way it will remain. 
"comrades mine and I in the midst and their memory ever to keep in the dead I loved so well"

Whtitman ends with " Lilac, and star and bird, twined with the chant of my soul"
It is forever twined within him, not soon to be forgotten.

Rukeyser ends with a sort of calling for those that are living to commemorate the people,

"Carry abroad the urgent need, the scene,
to photograph and to extend the voice,to speak this meaning.
Voices to speak to us directly. As we move.As we enrich, growing in larger motion,this word, this power.

Communication to these many menas epilogue, seeds of unending love. "

From this tragedy we grow, we can enrich ourselves and be able to be the epilogue.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Project Idea...

I was thinking of further exploring Walt Whtiman's use of  women in his poetry. I have always been interested in gender roles and attempting to break out of the role given to us by society, or digging deeper into why these roles exist and why people continue to allow roles to guide them. I noticed in Whitman's poem, Song of myself that he uses woman to portray someone locked up, behind a glass door, or in a motherly way. I thought it would be interesting to compare the 1855 version to the 1860 version, to see if any of the women's roles or positions had changed. I realize its only a five year difference, but I'm willing to do some ore research regarding women in this time period and what happened in society during this time.
I would also look at reviews from women and articles written by women for Whitman's work.
As far as evidence of learning, I was thinking some sort of visual drawing to depict women in those times and now, but also maybe re-writing verses (or keeping them, but only reading the lines regarding women) that include women to go with the times now. And if times allows, get various women to read these lines and I can record them and put together a compilation.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peter Doyle

Peter Doyle was an emigrant from Ireland, also known to be Walt's companion for a very good chunk of time in his life. He was raised in the south and was actually a confederate soldier. They met on a horsecar that Peter was the conductor of and Whitman was the only passenger.
 Doyle was present at the Ford's theater when President Lincoln was shot. He recollects that night and some believe he was the inspiration and main contact in writing "O Captain! My Captain!" He was quoted saying,
 "I needn't tell you what I felt then, or saw. It is all put down in Walt's piece"
A poem also uses the name Pete,
"Come Up From The Fields Father," is unique in its use of a first name to identify the poem's fictional hero. The name used is "Pete". In no other poem does Walt give name to any character or model used. 
Walt's calamus poems are frequently reverted back to Peter Doyle and the realtionship they has with one another, "love of comrades" celebrated in Whitman's "Calamus" poems.
His letters from Walt are published and allow for us to further study Whitman and his words.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Martin F. Tupper, Proverbial Wisdom

Martin F. Tupper was a writer and poet born in 1810 in London. He wrote the perverbial philosophy which was "long series of didactic moralisings". A well known one was, 
"Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech"
This book was released in volumes, numerous amounts, which is relateable to Whitman's Leaves of Grass and his different editions.The two were often compared to one another in written reviews of their works. Tupper was in New York  in 1851 and at the time Walt was working and living in Brooklyn. At this time he was developing an aesthetic theory that would later become, Leaves of Grass. 
A writer that was molding his own would have picked up a work that was getting so much publicity and would undoubtedly have influence on Whitman. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I saw a post that made me a little upset, Female Nurses for Soldiers. I thought it would be Walt revering in how much these women are helpful and how caring, beautiful and unique each woman is, but no. True, he does pay a bit of respect to the volunteers, but they aren't good enough. I know these men deserve a lot, but these women volunteered out of the goodness of their hearts and he is not satisfied. He says, the nurses should be mothers, or old ladies and I agree that mothers have a certain touch and way about caring for people but someone who volunteers to help wounded men, have a certain heart as well. At the end he says,
"There are plenty of excellent clean old black women that would make tip-top nurses. "
This reminds me of the stereotype of the "mammie". I just didn't think Walt would have a thought as this.
And I think being around any kind of woman is helpful for a soldier that has seen the worst of things.