Leaves of Grass [NOOK Book]

Overview

Leaves of Grass (1855) is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman. Among the poems in the collection are "Song of Myself", "I Sing the Body Electric", and in later editions, Whitman's elegy to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd". Whitman spent his entire life writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death.
Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS was the first great American poem, and is being ...
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Leaves of Grass

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Overview

Leaves of Grass (1855) is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman. Among the poems in the collection are "Song of Myself", "I Sing the Body Electric", and in later editions, Whitman's elegy to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd". Whitman spent his entire life writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death.
Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS was the first great American poem, and is being celebrated with a new 150th anniversary edition of the original. From New York Tom Vitale has the story.
When LEAVES OF GRASS appeared in 1855, nothing like it had ever been seen and printed before: a dozen untitled poems spanning 83 pages urging the reader to join the poet in a new perspective. Excerpts are read by former poet laureate Robert Pinsky.
Stop this day in the night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left).
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the specters in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me.
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.
It was the beginnings of free verse: long, exuberant flowing lines that didn't rhyme. Like his 19th-century contemporaries Whitman started out writing conventional poetry. But unlike the English Romantics and the American poets who tried to imitate them, Whitman wrote in the language and cadence of everyday Americans. Whitman was born in 1819 to a poor family on Long Island. He left school at the age of 11 to become a printer's apprentice and later worked as a newspaper editor. Biographer David Reynolds says by the time Whitman turned thirty what he saw around him changed the way he wrote.
Of course this was just before the Civil War and he was extremely upset about what was happening in this country at that time. He saw the division between the North and the South. He saw the enslavement of nearly four million African- Americans. But then when the Fugitive Slave Law came in 1850, he really bursts out in wrath and anger, and slowly we see his social passions, kind of exploding that kind of effete sentimental diction of his ea
Robert Pinsky says Leaves of Grass is a literary landmark not only for its stylistic innovations but also because it was the first poem to express national ideals in passionate verse.
It takes a lot of thoughts that people had all through the 19th century , thoughts that people had about the United States, the thoughts that there's a democracy of experience, that the interior life of every person regardless is equal, that they're all related. And he finds this bold unwavering way of expressing their thoughts that is both sort of idiosyncratic, and that is universal the way opera is universal.
The universality of Leaves of Grass goes beyond politics to a Zen-like appreciation of the miracles of everyday life. Scholar David Ronald says the poem has a healing influence.
Looking at the natural world, the mystery of it, the beauty of it, things that you and I could easily take for granted, a mouth or a hair, growing out of the back of his hand, to me that's what's just beautiful about Leaves of Grass, you can read this, you can sit there in the open air, and read it and then look around you and the world can seem new and fresh.
I believe a leave of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and the grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree toad is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery.
Whitman tinkered with Leaves of Grass for the rest of his life; he published five more editions, each retaining the earlier poems while adding new ones including the famous elegies for Lincoln "Oh Captain, My Captain" and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d", but David Reynolds who edited the 150th anniversary edition of Leaves of Grass, says none of Whitman's later poems matched the sheer energy of the originals.
You know Whitman even late in life looked back and then he said, “I miss the ecstasy of statement of the 1855 edition, it has such a directness and such a turbulent force, and it really does. It's almost like a volcanic explosion of feeling and vision. ”
And it was an emotional call to frankness and tolerance, as embodied in the poem by the character of Whitman himself.
Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs,
A cosmos.
Disorderly fleshy and sensual.
Eating, drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist, no standard above men and women or apart for them, no more modest than immodest....
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012269836
  • Publisher: JC PUB NETWORKS
  • Publication date: 3/9/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 755,005
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Walter "Walt" Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A 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.
Born on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and–in addition to publishing his poetry–was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842). Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. He died at age 72 and his funeral became a public spectacle.
Whitman's sexuality is often discussed alongside his poetry. Though biographers continue to debate his sexuality, he is usually described as either homosexual or bisexual in his feelings and attractions. However, there is disagreement among biographers as to whether Whitman had actual sexual experiences with men. Whitman was concerned with politics throughout his life. He supported the Wilmot Proviso and opposed the extension of slavery generally. His poetry presented an egalitarian view of the races, and at one point he called for the abolition of slavery, but later he saw the abolitionist movement as a threat to democracy.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 250 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(163)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(26)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 249 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2011

    Dont buy this

    This book is not formatted at all. Each poem is one long paragraph, and there are not even extra returns after each poem; they all run together. It may not cost much, but it's still a waste of money.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Overshadowed by Whitman's Eccentric Persona

    Walt Whitman is one of those people whose public image or persona has quite overshadowed his work, and for good reason--his work does not fully live up to his reputation as America's national poet. Granted, a minority of Whitman's work is brilliant in every respect (Drum-Taps and In Memory of President Lincoln come to mind), and his remarkably original style has changed the nature of free verse poetry forever, but much of his material is, well, simply average. On occasion he verges on rambling, stuck somewhere between Emerson/Thoreau and Tolstoy, trying to formulate a coherent philosophy but all the while attempting to believe in everything--thus believing in nothing. At times, his laid-back "acceptance for all" theory borders on contradictory. This is disappointing in light of his best work, which demonstrates his firm grasp of Life and Humanity. If you like Whitman's cadence verse style, as I do, I recommend Allen Ginsberg and Carl Sandburg--the later of whom, in my opinion, blows Whitman out of the water.

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing

    This had basically all of his works. He is a great writer.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an Awesome Collection

    This is an awesome collection to have in one's own library.

    Everyone should own Whitman works, along with Ohio Blue Tips by Jeanne E. Clark, The Photos In The Closet by Daniel E. Lopez, and works by Alison Townsend.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2011

    -THE BEST OF THE BEST!-

    Walt started it all and still continues to show his relevance with every passing decade. A life time poet who will always have my heart!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    recommended for poetry lovers

    while the formatting is awful it doesn't necessarily detract from the outstanding poetry that Walt W. has left us to ponder and love!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Phenomenal!

    Karen Karbiener was my professor at Columbia and taught the American Literature class, Walt Whitman. Karen was by far the best professor I had and will never forget this class and this book! The book is profoundly educational and tremendously stimulating!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an Awesome Collection

    This is an awesome collection to have in one's own library.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 30, 2014

    I've always compared poetry to music lyrics. And like many albu

    I've always compared poetry to music lyrics. And like many albums, often there are just one or two songs which are really, really good. This book fits that model for me. It has a few very memorable poems, but several which, while not bad, require more work to derive the meaning. Still, for anyone interested beautiful language artfully arranged to create mental landscapes, this book is for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    He speaks in tongues....a must have!

    Confusing at first....but if you understand the life of vocabulary or hav a dictionary in handy yiure good to go....overall this book is five star worthy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Highly recommended. I wish you weirdos who

    Get off on wasting space here communicating with each other would do us all a favor. Get a job. Get a life. Get an education. You all sound like a bunch of losers.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2013

    Poetry,the Beautiful.

    A friend of mine said she just didn't get poetry. It was Walt that invigorated her to dig deeper. Now she is a poetry lover.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Amy

    So r u all like brothers or wht :)

    1 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Alesh

    He yells NO STUPID GATORS GO BUCK EYES

    1 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Brandon

    Hot babe in the house im brandon.

    1 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Major formatting issues!!!

    I got this in hope that it wasn't as poorly formatted as other free poetry. I was wrong. If anything it was worse. Lines ran together, there was random punctuation, and none of the poems were separated. I woul not recommend this at all. I found it to be a waste of time no matter how free it was. Splurge a little and spend a dollar on a better version. You especially don't want to use this version for study as it will take you so much time t simply decifer, let alon study it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Damion

    Damion-they football game is on.

    1 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Hunter

    He laughs at brandon and falls off the couch-Hunter.

    1 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass

    Walt Whitman speaks of things that would not normally be placed in poems. He is open about the world around him and himself. In a sense, he is a transcendentalist who does not fear what the public thinks about him. His poems are witty, strange, and sometimes provoking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 249 Customer Reviews

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