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Tuesday, November 03rd, 2009 | Author:

“Get Well Soon :)”

Once steady hands now faltering from your fall,

this hand that penned mountains, sung through ferry waters, hewn rough earth boys, their bodies taken by war as your body has taken you.

You, the kosmos, can not be taken by such human failings.

Calamus cane in hand, stand erect, your perpetual journey is still left to tramp.

Your America is orphaned without your voice, your body; without your arms to encircle her.

You shall yet whisper your secrets in my ear, leaning on my shoulder should you need it.

Comrade, let me now take your hand and show you what you have shown me.

                                                                                                                                    —Jessica and Erin


O spew that slicks the trash can beside us!
You do not demean, you do not debase,
You ennoble the pig history,
and call up dead cats, 
and provoke my soul and throat alike.
O great herds of men!
Move on like cattle,
Rattle in your corners, trapped
behind signs and glass-cases
coats!  Take what you can!
Don’t slow the time- pus 
impeding to the balcony.
Come Children!  From Stafford, from
Fredericksburg, from Virginia-
worthy of the North- and Pittsburgh-
just as equal to the South.
Fill my city, flush out its
stubborn geometry,
press against the corners and angles,
passing impenetrable limousines.
I know you have felt unworthy-
I know you have marveled at my materials,
Stared inside my bag,
(What where you looking for?
What would you have hoped to find?  Would I
have left something?  I spare nothing.  Not even
Take my hair and complete the rest!
Take it!
The librarian sees far less than we.
And I know best what to watch.
Never mind overstepping me,
Never mind the route around the library,
Never mind punctuality,
Never mind the rain-
I fill all spaces.
I press against the sidewalks’ undersides.
                                                                                                                    –Courtney and Sam P

“Rise o Dancers from your Courtyard Plaza”

Rise o dancers from your courtyard plaza, till you stomping, snapping, spin,

Sidelong my eyes devoured what your practice gave me,

Long I roamed the streets of DC, long I watched the rain pouring,

I traveled Walt Whitman Way and slept in the seats of Ford’s Theatre, I crossed the streets, I jumped the puddles,

I descended to the secret tunnel and sail’d out to the Metro,

I sailed through the storm, I was soaked by the storm,

I watched with joy Chelsea threatening Sam

I mark’d the water lines where puddles splashed so high,

I heard the wind piping, I saw the black clouds,

Saw from afar what thrilled and moonwalked (O hilarious! O ridiculous as my heart, and


Heard the continuous beat as it bellowed over the car horns.

                                                                                                                    —Brendon and Sam K.


“O Wondrous Washington!”

O wondrous Washington!

City of rain and wind,

You drench us in amorous drops;

Our limbs move weary in recycled steps—

O wretched limbs!

Let us deliciously journey

And see your scribbled ink,

And feel the buzz of your presence,

And read the immortal words,

And rattle our frames with splendid, tattered images,

And depart limp and satiated.

O to find you and taste fully of your knowledge!

Wet lips, wet shoes, wet hair—

Wondrous, enriched fatigue.

                                                                                                                                  –Allison and Sarah


On Sunken Road I heard the calls of soldiers past—

O, Sergeant Richard Kirkland, you cradle one, my brother comrade, I could have sworn you were an angel watching me from your periphery, adoring.

It being the real, still-standing portion of the wall, I imagine the sons of the nation, and also the daughters, facing each other, their hearts join’d as joints of a wall by perforation;

Limbs erect as the rifles readied by their masters to unroot the Calamus,

I walk’d the gravel path with Kirkland, Lee, Whitman—fearless of intolerant rebels who might flank the figures of my mind:

White opposition approaches—a different union entire.

                                                                                                         —Meghan, Virginia, and Natalie


I sing the now-pav’d road which underneath my soles spanned the nubbed monument to the beds of delicate soldiers,

Where my callous hands soothed wounds from a war of brother against brother,

The road, infinite, wandering past Georgetown and the Potomac and the garbage eating pigs

And the mud and Andrew Jackson airing laundry and the doors of Saint John’s church  looking out onto the White Mansion and the canals, and the old warriors walking five stories for one month’s check, and the theatre where my brother, my comrade, fell and spoke no more

Oh road now pav’d over blood! Pav’d over me! I trod your streets once known in dirt

you conceal me, can I learn your roads once more?

                                                                                                                     —Chelsea and Ben 

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 | Author:

When I was reading Sam P.’s post this week, I commented that he and I had discussed that Whitman Immersion had affected our very way of encountering the world, even making us question if we were reading Whitman too much into everything we see and hear and do.  I called this in the comment wearing “Whitman-vision goggles,” and included the following parenthetical challenge which I repeat here in case you missed it:


I know Brendon the Cupcake Man is already musing on it; I invite one and all in to the challenge.

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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 | Author:

Hey Whitmaniacs,

This post is really a series of reminders and guidelines.  Boring (and overwhelming?  I’m trying), but read on:

  • Don’t forget to log on to your own individual blog and post from there rather than posting directly on the Digital Whitman blog, which is creating problems for some folks.
  • Dr. Earnhart has confirmed the start time for our first set of field trips on October 3.  We will begin at the Visitors’ Center on the Sunken Road battlefield at 1:00 that day with a movie, followed by a tour of the battlefield, after which we will carpool over to Chatham to see the mansion that served as Union headquarters/hospital/Whitman’s nursing inspiration.  We should be done by 5 that day.  Stay tuned for more details but please block out your time now.
  • As announced in class, the readings for Sept. 22, when we begin work on the 1867 edition, have been focused more narrowly.  On the syllabus page, there will be an addendum document you should use for that week’s assignments.
  • And speaking of readings… Let me remind everyone to budget weekly time efficiently to make sure you complete all readings thoughtfully before class (as MAY not have been the case this past Tuesday…).  We have not required written summaries of articles, but it would be a great idea as you read to use your blog to record a very brief summary, some personal notes or responses, or a few key phrases/quotations.  That will give you a better record for class, and it will benefit your classmates as well in our ongoing collaboration.
  • And speaking of readings one more time, they do lighten up in most of the remaining weeks.  One exception seems to be Sept. 29, which has a heavier assignment again.  Please plan ahead to budget appropriate time that week.
Friday, August 28th, 2009 | Author:

I have the flip-cams.  Let’s roll, people.

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Thursday, June 18th, 2009 | Author:

Random notes from training:

Tech support is new group where faculty and students can post tech questions for help from members and Jim.

Matt and Jim will add tabs for fora and will fix course blogs so they draw in essential feeds.  We should each think about what feeds we want for course blogs and individually arrange them with techies.  (Grab URL for RSS feed of specific tag on a site like delicious, then go to widgets in dashboard of own blog to add RSS feed and  paste in address.)

Note re: Delicious.  Use bookmarking tools to add buttons to browsers and then you can just click the button from website you want to save and it will automatically save to account and will let you add tags, description, etc.

Tab for Resources on frontpage which we will build together– links to MLA citation, WW Archive, etc.  Also a Press tab for articles etc.

Two central sites for aggregation: course blogs and LFW home site.

Jim and Matt will set up various editions for annotation for each class.

Mechanics/Ideas for shared annotation assignment:

  • we will all start with 1855 Song and use it for image gloss assignment so classes complement each other.  Specific words from text will be linked to blog post glosses. 
  • March planning notes divide eras of WW writing for different classes– after the initial image gloss annotations of Song, class annotations will focus on additions to Leaves for particular era–e.g., Camden may do very late poem additions, or Fred may do Drum Taps, Lincoln poems, etc.  Annotations can be linked to visual, will be researched as appropriate, could be secondary criticism, primary or historical research, local geographical supplements, etc.  Jesse Merandy’s article on “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” in Mickle Street Review is an example of deep annotation of single poem.
  • faculty should communicate schedule for annotations and exact poems as those are decided in course planning over summer

Some final product ideas: video, mp3 reading, online museum entry, essay, deep annotation or scholarly edition, wikipedia entry, cinepoems or mashups like documentary on WW and Camden——> projects that are designed to educate wider public