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Whitman’s Civil War Prose

sarah’s final paper Ugh. Day of Finish paper, Take nap, Sleep through Whitman party, Wake up, Post paper late, Go back to bed. I hate exam week. […]

Everyone will be jealous of Thomas Benton…

That’s why he’s using a nom de plume. First line: “Ten years ago I was permitted to run my hand through the beard of Walt Whitman.” I thought this article spoke to our class too well to not share it. In case the link doesn’t work, the article is “A Professor and a Pilgrim” by […] […]

Sarah Finds Whitman

In which I read Whitman’s poem “To You” at Chatham house (formerly Lacy House). […]

Movie-making with Jim Groom and Andy Rush

***These are just notes at the moment. They will be clarified later. For questions,  jgroom at or  arush at Thanks to Andy Rush for the very helpful tutorial! Vista or 7, you can use the newest version of movie maker – gives the ability to upload directly to youtube. Secure it from windows […] […]

Sarah for Nov. 3

So many things struck me about the 1855 to 1891-92 Song of Myself that it is hard to know where to start. I guess at the beginning is always good. Whitman makes a point of saying in the 1891-92 version that he is “now thirty-seven years old in perfect health”. Really, Whitman? If “deathbed edition” […] […]

Sarah for Oct. 27

The love that Walt Whitman felt towards Abraham Lincoln can be divided into two broad kinds of love. The first is a personal infatuation bordering on obsession that could alternately be viewed as romantic, but strictly abstract, similar to the feelings of the devotees to Elijah Wood that roamed the halls of my school after […] […]

The RF&P Railroad – Material Culture Museum Entry

When Walt Whitman came down to Fredericksburg in 1862, he traveled along a variety of different transportation methods including trains. Trains were a major factor in American travel before the Civil War and they would become invaluable to the war effort in the North and South. The railroads of Virginia were especially important to the […] […]

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 […] […]

The Danger of Reading Other Peoples’ Love Letters

Just for fun, I thought I’d post this, a comic, not about Whitman, but James Joyce…. […]

Day and Night in Drum-Taps

In my first readthrough of Drum-Taps, I noticed numerous poems using the image of the moon so I thought I’d go back through with an eye on nighttime in Drum-Taps. The first poems in the cycle, notably “First O Songs for a Prelude” and, obviously, “Song of the Banner at Daybreak”, are set at daybreak. […] […]

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 […] […]

Thoughts after class

Something that I feel I cannot connect with Whitman is the information we have about his family. As I recall, he was the breadwinner for his family, his mother and siblings, for much of his life. However, I don’t see this affecting his work. Also, with his emphasis on family and children to increase the […] […]

Image Gloss – Fish-smack

“The crew of the fish-smack pack repeated layers of halibut in the hold,” (Song of Myself, 41) “or off on a cruise with fishers in a fishing smack” (”Walt Whitman, A Brooklyn Boy”) Smack, n.: 1. A single-masted sailing-vessel, fore-and-aft rigged like a sloop or cutter, and usually of light burden, chiefly employed as a coaster or for […] […]

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 […] […]

The Song of Sarah

Sit awhile wayfarer, Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink, But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes I will certainly kiss you with my goodbye kiss and open the gate for your egress hence. Long enough have you dreamed contemptible dream, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself […] […]

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 […] […]

Test Post

Here I am, everyone! Looking forward to tracking Walt Whitman this semester! […]