Tag Archives: Walt Whitman

A Teacher, Lit, & a Jailed Student

In “Reading with Patrick,” English teacher Michelle Kuo works with a student in 8th grade and then later after he has killed a man. The story brings up questions about lit’s impact.

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Obama Was Invisible to White America

A Salon article explores how some of white supremacism’s rise can be traced to rage over having had a black president. Quoting Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” it makes the case that the right couldn’t really see Obama.

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Dear Trump: America Contains Multitudes

To celebrate July 4, do not listen to Donald Trump, who preaches paranoia and exclusion. Read Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” His America contains multitudes.

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Poems To Mourn a Russian History Prof

When a Russian history professor died at our college, his colleagues turned to poetry as they wrestled with his premature death. Ovid, Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Turgenev, and Walt Whitman provided powerful words.

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Be Skeptical of Shakespeare’s Skeptics

Recent evidence further confirms what most Shakespeare scholars believe: that Shakespeare wrote the plays ascribed to him. The Bard’s social anxieties, however, may have communicated themselves to the skeptics, who play out their own anxieties as they attempt to tear him down.

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America’s Dream: We Contain Multitudes

My Trinidadian daughter-in-law today becomes an American citizen. I welcome her with an excerpt from Whitman’s “Song of Myself” that contains multitudes.

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Memorial Day: I Am the Grass, I Cover All

Carl Sandburg’s outward stoicism masks a deep grief as he memorializes those killed in battle in “Grass.”

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Whitman, Melville & Abolitionism

Walt Whitman and Herman Melville’s revolutionary visions of egalitarian societies shaped how Abolitionists thought about America’s potential.

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Mourning Lincoln, Mourning My Son

Whitman’s mourning of Lincoln in “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” also captures what it feels like to lose a child.

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Mourning the Death of “Captain” Lincoln

“Oh Captain! My Captain,” mourning the death of Lincoln 150 years ago today, was Whitman’s most popular poem.

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Whitman’s Poem a Lesson for War Hawks

In “The Wound-Binder,” Walt Whitman refuses to glorify war and only shows its bloody aftermath–a good thing to remember on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s final day.

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An Inspiring Speech Draws Upon Poetry

Obama drew powerfully from James Baldwin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Langston Hughes, and Walt Whitman in his Selma speech.

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Advent and Horror at the Void

Donald Hall’s “Advent” captures the darkness of the season, linking death with birth.

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Rich Reflects on Yom Kippur & Conflict

Adrienne Rich’s meditates on the meaning of Yom Kippur in light of America’s divisions and her own longing for solitude.

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Robin Williams Made Poetry Cool

Robin Williams gave us one of cinema’s greatest depictions of a literature teacher.

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Whitman’s Blast of Green Grace

Scott Bates’ homage to Walt Whitman tells of amorous encounters from the grass’s point of view.

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Student Learns from Learn’d Astronomer

One of my students took profound lessons from “When I Heard My Learn’d Astronomer.”

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Whoever Degrades Another Degrades Me

Whitman’s “Song of Myself” calls us to imagine the experience of the Other, just as Obama asked us to imagine the perspective of young black men.

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V-E Day, Whitman, and My 15 Minutes

My 15 minutes: during Slovenia’s 1995 V-E Day celebration I read Walt Whitman to a national television audience.

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Roger Ebert’s Kinship with Whitman

In reflecting on death and dying, Roger Ebert turned to literature rather than to film.

Posted in Behan (Brendan), Bellow (Saul), James (Henry), Remi (Georges), Whitman (Walt) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh, Captain! Is Jeter’s Fearful Trip Done?

Seeing “the Captain” Derek Jeter break his ankle conjures up Whitman’s “captain” poem.

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Depressed about Politics? Read Whitman

Marilynne Robinson turns to Whitman to argue that American Democracy’s greatness lies in how it honors the individual soul.

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Teaching Integrity in High School English

Describing a high school English class that he teaches, Carl Rosin draws on the American Transcendentalists as he insists that his students live lives of integrity. His final assignment requires them to put what they have thought and read into action.

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Walt Whitman as Suicide Prevention

At a time when he was feeling depressed and suicidal, Michael Bourne discovered that Walt Whitman could get him to step beyond his “endless, self-constructed maze of Self.”

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Whitman & Hughes Hear America Singing

Today, for July 4, I offer up two ultra-American poems. Walt Whitman embraces multitudes” in “I Hear America Singing,” and Langston Hughes, in an addendum, mentions some of those Americans that, in the past, have been forgotten. May we all remember that America is astounding in its willingness to open itself to all people.

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Reading Whitman: My 15 Minutes of Fame

My 15 minutes of fame came when I read Walt Whitman’s “Oh Captain, My Captain” to the people of Slovenia. The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. As today is D-Day, it seems a good time to tell the story.

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