Walt Whitman


Does it matter that he's gay? Do any facts of his personal life affect the power of his poems? Do his later poems about war and death contradict his patriotic earlier work? Does his Song of Myself compliment, contradict or praise specific modern religions?
Where did the hell did he come from, and where is his influence most visible?

These are things I wonder...

>>By Patterson   (Thursday, 29 Jan 2004 21:42)

Whitman was, I belive bisexaul. And I think that his lust for life is essential in the understanding of his work. There really, in my opinion, is no contradiction as Whitman was a whole human living as fully as he could...that is why his material is so rich.


>>By Al C   (Friday, 30 Jan 2004 00:05)

Who cares if Whitman was gay or straight or whatever. He is one incredible writer. Whenever greatness shows its face the question always comes up...Is he gay or straight. I say who cares as long as he can take the written word and turn it into imagery for the reader. I, as some of you may know do have an issue with some forms of content, such as Maplethorpe or Bukowski, which is a whole different subject, but Whitman can sure write. Of course we all could if we went out to a cottage solo with the intention of doing what he did, writing. if anyone has read Whitman or Poe, they have certainly had a taste of good American writing.

>>By noname1   (Friday, 30 Jan 2004 05:53)

I don't think we all could write like Whitman if we "went out to a cottage solo." I think materialism and desire is something you bring with you, and that it's as easy to embrace life living in the Bronx as in the rural Pacific Northwest. Obviously you have to find a substitute for the role that nature played in his life, but that's easy.

I agree with AI C...living fully never contradicts itself because, I think, it doesn't involve a history, so there is nothing to contradict. Just the moment.

>>By Patterson   (Wednesday, 4 Feb 2004 19:41)

The things he must have seen as a war nurse would have kicked my ass. He chose life over despair. I love that about him. Beautiful poems.

>>By Seward3   (Friday, 6 Feb 2004 01:38)

I want to understand his writings better. What is the meaning, as you see it, behind "Song of Myself?"


>>By brandee   (Monday, 9 Feb 2004 01:32)

I think in the 'Song of myself', whitman put into poetic form the
narure of the free spirit untrammelled by dogma.

>>By ossian   (Sunday, 15 Feb 2004 05:21)

I see "Song of Myself" as religion without any symbols or icons, which might be what ossian meant by "free spririt untrabbelled by dogma." I read it very selfishly, and take it as a personal affirmation of my worth and robust joy that's always available to me. I think he's saying, "everything that is, is just a slightly different combination of the things that make me up," and "Isn't self-knowledge great! Isn't interacting with other self-aware beings great!"

>>By Patterson   (Friday, 20 Feb 2004 19:48)

The discussion board is currently closed.