Joel on April 6th, 2011
“What’s New?” Wednesdays is a weekly column where I talk about old stuff I’ve just discovered.
Our poetry editor will bemoan this fact, but I just discovered Walt Whitman. Sure, I’d heard of him, but my knowledge of him was limited to three words: old American poet. Then I started reading Chris Adrian’s debut novel Gob’s Grief. In it, a fictional Whitman plays a crucial role in helping the protagonist create a machine that will bring back all the dead of the civil war. Good job Walt.
Then I picked up his magnum opus, Leaves of Grass. Here’s an excerpt from his poem “The Sleepers” (which I think is timely):
“The soul is always beautiful,
The universe is duly in order….every thing is in its place,
What has arrived is in its place, and what waits is in its place.
The sleepers that lived and died wait….the far advanced are to go on in their turns, and the far behind are to go on in their turns,
The diverse shall be no less diverse, but they shall flow and unite….they unite now.”
Ah American poetry. I’ve discovered you at last.