Just another Looking for Whitman weblog

The semester is coming to a close and what’s so funny is that I saw myself doing exactly what I’m doing right now; trying to tie up all my lose ends with perfect knots. It’s been great taking a good look at Walt Whitmans’ life, accomplishments, dwellings and businesses. I never thought that I would be looking into someones life in such detail, yet I feel like we barely touched the surface. Walt Whitmans life was full of many experiences that I may never have to experience myself. But he had no regrets. He lived his life as he saw fit, shouting, mourning, smiling, talking, helping and experienceing to the fullest.

“I know I am august,

I do not trouble my spirt to vindicate itself or be understood,

I see that the elementary laws never apologize,

I reckon I behave no prouder than the level I plant my house by

after all.

I exist as I am, that is enough,

If no other in the world be aware I sit content,

and if each and all be aware I sit content.

Thank-you Professor Gold for opening up the world of Walt Whitman to us. It was different, and made you think about life not just from my own perspective but from that of another. Research is hard work and dedication, I did not know how much it took to accomplish a task such as this. Until now, I thought a few books could tell you quite a bit. The books do tell, but researching further put the pieces together much more efficiently. I think I see Walt Whitman everywhere now, especially in Brooklyn. Thanks again Professor, the class was well worth the effort and beneifical to students moving on to higher degrees. And Thank-you to Clair Fontaine for all her technical support and advice on blogging, it was very helpful. I look forward to blogs in the future. Keep your eyes open!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sincerely, WHITNICK :)


Filed Under Uncategorized

George_Fox250px-Elias_Hicks_3b44203rThe way a person is brought up defines a good part of who they’ll grow up to be. Not to say that you can’t change or discover new things about yourself, but that upbringing gives you roots, whether positive or negative that plants your feet, firmly, on the ground you stand. This will follow you through-out your life as a guide in all decisions that you make and several of the paths you will take, which brings me to Whitman. The roots of his father and mother are also his roots, impressed on his brain, affecting his very thoughts. Being influenced by “The Society of Friends”, for a nice part of his young life, their principles became his anthem. As in most religions, there are splinter groups that break off from the roots and become their own denomination or sect of a religious group. I say this to inform you that not all Quakers have the same outlook on what they believe but two beliefs stand out for the most part. And they are: that a direct connection with The Divine is yours and yours alone. No one else can make that connection for you, like a priest, pastor, Imam or any other middleman. You must find the divine in you, a statement expressed by one of their founders, George Fox, who stated “Christ is come to teach his people himself”. And the other belief is living your life, openly expressing the first belief. This reminds me of a statement I once read that stated, “Walk in the sun as if the whole world can see you”. Don’t hide who you are or feel ashamed of the divine in you. Show it so that all who see you see me.  Elias Hicks was the influence on Walt Whitman. Whitman grew up hearing him preach. Hicks was a bit unorthodox in his style and caused division between  “The Society of Friends”, which began the splintering of the society, as in most religions, causing individual sects to form.quakerQuakerTheir way of living was simple, caring, looking out for one another and causing no one harm. You can see why Walt Whitman was so offended by the mistreatment of others. His background guided him throughout his life.

“I exist as I am, that is enough,

If no other in the world be aware I sit content,

And if each and all be aware I sit content.

Leaves of Grass, “Song of Myself” (48) Barnes and Noble Classics 2004

“And I know that the hand of God is the elderhand of my own,

And I know that the spirt of God is the eldest brother of my own,

And that all the men ever born are also my brothers….and the women my sisters and lovers,

And that a kelson of the creation is love;

leaves of Grass, “Song of Myself” (33) Barnes and Noble Classics 2004

Walt Whitmans biggest supporter 200px-Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_ca1857Ralph Waldo Emerson was not directly a Quaker but his ideals and the circumstances of that time, Emerson saw himself seeing eye to eye with the Quakers beliefs and ideas. Emerson was the head of the transendentalist movement as well as a philosoper and poet. In that sense Emerson could have seen Walt Whitman as his brother, shareing the same cause, fighting the same fight, when many people didn’t want to hear the truth about themselves. That still exist today and you can see that people still don’t like to hear about themselves. And history proves that people will go to extremes to quite you.

Refer to “The Quaker influence in American Literature” by Howard W. Hintz 1965 (49-75)

walt Form beginning to end Walt’s roots stayed with him. Through his ups and downs, even his dark side, if you want to call it that, Walt Whitman still held on to his roots and love of people.

#3 002My voice goes after what  my eyes cannot reach, With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds. Speech is the twin of my vision….it is unequal to measure itself. It provokes me for ever, It says sarcastically, Walt, you understand enough….why don’t you let it out then? Come now I will not be tantilized….you conceive too much of articulation. 

Speech is a very powerful tool. When used it can provoke change, good and bad. That choice is not only up to the speaker though. It’s also up to the listener. We tend to hear what we want to hear and not always what is being said.

I never thought my first experience would be that of Walt Whitman. Upon first reading Leaves of Grass I knew that I was in uncharted territory. Poems are not read the same as Novels and I’ve always wanted to explore poetry. Reading his words was like trying to find my own. Whitman’s thoughts are all over the place, jumping from topic to topic but in an orderly fashion. Through his eyes, pieces of his life, whether his experiences or the experiences of others, documented in a way that could leave you confused, I found myself reading and rereading lines over and over looking for him. Who is Walt Whitman? And why does he sound familiar to me? I asked myself these questions with every page I turned.
“What is a man anyhow? What am I? and what are you?
All I Mark as my own you shall offset it with your own,

Else it were time lost listening to me.

Walt Whitman has referred to men and women interchangeably in the poem, Leaves of Grass, so it seemed natural to assume that when he said, “What is man anyhow?” that he was also referring to women as well. He followed this simple question with another, “What am I?”, as if you should want to know, and proceeded to question us, the readers, in lowercase letters, “what are you?”, not because he wanted to know us, his readers. He wants us to question ourselves and answer in our own words, otherwise, his words would have no meaning if they don’t invoke you, me, we to find out about us. About who we are as individuals and as people.




Welcome to Looking for Whitman. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Skip to toolbar