Tuesday, April 7, 2009

441, Whitman, Dickinson

Hello there. Well, this blog is now officially dedicated to the musings and assignments associated with WR 441!

Random thoughts:

With regards to Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, I am not sure what to add beyond what Kasey said in class. If Whitman's poems represented continual creation, constant sexual reproduction, then Dickinson's poems were representative of a microscope and a scalpel. Whitman's pen was a metaphor for a penis constantly spewing life-force into the atmosphere, and Dickinson's pen was a blade, always cutting away at life, dissecting it.

And, again, with regards to Whitman's philosophy, consider the following quote:

"Whitman's philosophy may resemble that of the Upanishads as rewritten by Thomas Jefferson. What differentiates it is the immediacy of substantial vision, the intensity of the wedding of image and moral meaning. Although Whitman is a philosophical poet, almost always concerned with his message, he is at the same time a master of Blake's "minute particulars," one of the clearest and most dramatic imagists in literature. Blake himself, in the philosophical-mythological epics in which he confronts the same problems and seeks the same solutions as Whitman, is graphic enough, but the details of his invented cosmogony are not sufficiently believable and so soon become boring. Whitman found his cosmogony under his heel, all about him in the most believable details of mundane existence. So his endless lists of the facts of life, which we expect to be tedious, are instead exhilarating, especially if read aloud." Kenneth Rexroth

Yes, Whitman did make room for a lot of "bad hippie poetry," but he was so beautiful. too.

Hats off to Whitman and Dickinson!


  1. Ha! I love the use of phallic pen spewing!

  2. ha! phallic pen spewing! um. how academic is this? mildly?