"Strange thoughts brew in your heart when you spend too much time with old books." (Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Walt Whitman - how to talk about the body the right way

Watched a good documentary about one of my fave poets, Walt Whitman. Here's what one of the scholars on the show said about his poetry, in relation to slavery:

“Whitman equates the human body and democracy in some radical and essential way. That the human body is what we all share. We all experience this world through the body and if we can all begin to agree that the body itself is a sacred thing, then we have the beginnings of democracy.” From American Experience: Walt Whitman

I like it.

You can also view the whole thing online.


ONE'S-SELF I sing, a simple separate person,
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.

Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say
the Form complete is worthier far,
The Female equally with the Male I sing.

Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I sing.

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