Walt Whitman 1819 – 1892 Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) an American poet, essayist, journalist, and...
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Walt Whitman 1819 1892
Walt Whitman (1819 1892)an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
Walt Whitman (1819 1892) Life Major works Analysis Free Verse His selected poems Song of Myself I Sit and Look Out
Lifeborn in New York, a common familyfive years education, variety of jobsbefore wrote poems, wrote kinds of other literary productionsinspired by grandeur landscape of America, wrote lots of poems, thus a famous poet
Major worksLeaves of Grass(famous poems such as Song of Myself and O! Captain! My Captain!)totally nine editions and last edition includes more than 400 poems
Analysis A. He extols the ideals of equality and democracy and celebrates the dignity, the self-reliant spirit and the joy of the common man.B. employing free verse (no conventional rhyme and meter) as the form of his poems with two characteristics: parallelism; phonetic recurrence (P92-P93)* What is the difference between free verse and blank verse? (blank verse has no rhyme, but it should be iambic pentameter)C. frankness of the commonplace and the ugly sides in human lifeD. direct, plain and even vulgar languageE. untold latencies (his poetry suggests rather than tell)F. great influence on the 20th century American poets
Free VerseFree verse, also known as open form verse, is the verse without regular meter, line length, rhyme(scheme), or stanza form, depending on natural speech rhythms related to the actual cadence of the poet expressing himself. It is different from the conventional schemed verse in several aspects:
Regular meter, or controlled rhythmic pattern, is essential to conventional poetry; but free verse is based on the irregular rhythmic cadence of the recurrenc, with variation, of phrases and syntactical patterns rather than the recurrent metrical patterns.
Rhyme occurs in most traditional poetry(except blank verse), and often with various schemes. In free verse, however, rhyme may or may not be present; but when it is used with great freedom.
In conventional verse, the unit is often foot, or the line; but in free verse, the units are much larger, sometimes being paragraphs or strophes. If the free verse unit is the line, as it is in Whitman, the line is usually determined by qualities of actual speech rhythm and thought, rather than feet or syllable count; thus the line may be as short as one word, or as long as a passage.
In comparison with conventional verse, free verse may be composed with rhythms and melodies more personal and individual, more appropriate to the subject and the theme. In the hands of the gifted poets free verse very often acquires rhythms and melodies of its own. There is in free verse greater flexibility of the form and greater agreement between sound and sense.
Song of Myself It is a poem consisting of 1345 lines. It is the longest poem in Leaves of Grass. The poet takes for granted the self as the most crucial element of the world and thus sets forth two of his principal beliefs: first, a theory of universality; second, all things are equal in value.In Part 1 of the selected sections, the author unfolds the theme of a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars by cordially celebrating himself. Meanwhile, he extols the ideals of equality and democracy and celebrates the dignity, the self-reliant spirit and the joy of the common man.
Song of MyselfIn part ten he told us his experience in walking the countryside. He went to the mountain, to the sea and to take part in the marriage ceremony of an Indian couple. At last he told us an experience of saving a runway slave, which showed his attitude toward slavery.In the Preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman says: The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters is simplicity. Nothing is better than simplicity. Song of Myself is characterized by simplicity of simplicity, but also by art of art.
Song of MyselfThe simplicity lies in the simple expressionthe wording and the sentencing and the natural lining of the poem. The art lies in the varying rhythms of the poem---the ebb and flow of emotion within it., the shift of mood, the alternation between moments of intensity and moments of relaxation.And the Preface says, The messages of great poets to each man and woman are,What we enclose you enclose, What we enjoy you may enjoy. Song of Myself is saturated with the the pride of the persona himself and with the vehemence of the audacity of freedom. And the persona, that is, the I in the poem, is Walt Whitman, is every American and is every human being. The vehemence of pride and audacity flows not only in words, but also from and in the sounds of the lines, powerful and torrential lines bursting out in succession.
Song of MyselfThe oneness of the persona with every American man and woman and with every human being, agrees to the varying but unifying rhythm, and to the harmonious melody. And in other words, not only the words describe the oneness, but also the melody expresses the oneness. This is the agreement between sound and sense.The Song of Myself, is the song of oneness, in terms of the sense and the sound.
I Sit and Look Out It is a short poem of 10 lines, opens with immediate presentation of the speakers stance and frame of view. The stance, sitting, is fixed, and within the frame are placed all the sorrows of the world. Following the opening line, 7 lines, containing 11 juxtaposed parralled clauses, present, in sweeping and scanning way, 1 group of auditory images (I hear,,,) and 10 groups of visual and kinesthetic images(I see, I markI observe) these groups of images are typical ones or representatives of the sorrow of the world.
I Sit and Look Out The 9th line, abruptly, an end to the view of the sorrows that occur without end, and brings the speaker and the reader back to the stance of the view: a sitting-look-out-upon stance. Upon the stance, the speaker continues to see and hear more of these without end. What he chooses to do or can do is to be silent. What more is heard and seen? Why is he silent? And for how long will he be silent? There is a large blank that the reader should fill in with his own sensation and imagination.