Come, said my soul,
Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,)
That should I after return,
Or, long, long hence, in other spheres,
There to some group of mates the chants resuming,
(Tallying Earth’s soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,)
Ever with pleas’d smile I may keep on,
Ever and ever yet the verses owning—as, first, I here and now
Signing for Soul and Body, set to them my name,
–Walt Whitman (From introduction to Leaves of Grass)
What better way to offset the lethargy of winter and the exhaustion of the holiday schedules then to dip into the poetry of Whitman? His poetry is exuberant, embracing and evocative of the Transcendentalist philosophy that he admired.
In the words of Clifton Fadiman:
“It is Whitman’s language rather than his message that exerts power. He worked with all his soul to become a national bard, the voice of “the divine average, ”the Muse of Democracy…He has penetrated our consciousness not because he is accepted by the “powerful uneducated persons ”he idealizes, but because he is a poet in the original sense: a maker, a coiner of wonderful new language.”
Our study will consider “A Noiseless Patient Spider” and selections from “Song of Myself”…we will read aloud, with gusto his words of expanse and celebration; we will use the sounds, words and rhythms to explore meaning and recognize mystery.
Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
If you would like to request this study or have any questions about it, please contact us.