Read Canto A Mi Mismo by Walt Whitman Free Online
Book Title: Canto A Mi Mismo|
The author of the book: Walt Whitman
Edition: Editorial Losada
Date of issue: January 1st 1950
ISBN 13: 9789500301503
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 34.13 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.1
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Walt Whitman’s poem, which would eventually become “Song of Myself,” had no title in the 1855, first edition of Leaves of Grass. In the 1856 edition, it was “A Poem of Walt Whitman, an American.” In 1860, the title changed to “Walt Whitman.” It wasn’t until 1871 that Whitman changed the title to “Song of Myself.” Along with the changes in title were changes made over the course of time to the poem itself.
Whitman’s “I” is a spectator, a commentator of what he sees, seeing them all, rich, poor, black, white, all religions, all races, all the good and the bad, revealing them all, and then moving on.
In the early part of this poem, Whitman shows the reader how the physical self, the “I,” encompasses the universe and also is interchangeable with the universe. How every element in nature is in us, and when we have no further use of our bodies they return to the earth to once again be a part of the universe. We are all part of this cycle, and therefore equal. Grass, the ultimate symbol of democracy.
There’s more, there’s so much more. But, for me, this time it was the predominant “take-away.” The commentary of the poem is broken down by section, with a Critical Commentary followed by an Afterword. These are both elucidating. The Commentary focusing on “translating” the section, and the Afterword occasionally sharing a life experience that sheds more light on the section.
My grandfather figures predominantly in my love of poetry, and more specifically in the love of Whitman’s poetry. As a child, I sat beside him as he wrote his own poems, line by line, asking this much younger version of me what words I thought he should use. Including me in the process. When he wasn’t writing, or we weren’t polishing the pews or some such thing, he was reading poetry to me. In this case, I remember a lot of it discovered under his loving eye as he broke this down, line by line, first asking, and then helping me discover what this poem was about. For him, the equality of all men was the paramount message. My grandfather was poor, growing up in rural West Virginia in a house his father had lovingly built with his own hands. His parents had lived on his grandfather’s farm when they were first married, but moved to “town” in 1902 when Salem College was being built nearby, they wanted a college education for themselves and their children.
I had started reading another book around the same time, Rick Bragg’s “All Over But the Shoutin,’” and then a day or so later, I began in small bits reading “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks” by Jesmyn Ward. It made for an interesting combination, from the 1850s to now, words, ideas and ideals shared by Whitman. Bragg, echoing the same thoughts throughout his memoir. Ward, one of today’s authors, asking the same questions.
Whitman’s celebration of the self includes everyone, regardless of race, morality, identity, religion, sexual orientation, or social standing.
To paraphrase the last line of an old Peter, Paul & Mary / Pete Seeger song: When will we ever learn?
Pub Date: 15 October 2016
Many thanks to University of Iowa Press (The Iowa Whitman Series), NetGalley, and to Ed Folsom and Christopher Merrill.
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Read information about the authorWalter Whitman was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and 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.
Born on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War in addition to publishing his poetry. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842).
After working as clerk, teacher, journalist and laborer, Whitman wrote his masterpiece, Leaves of Grass, pioneering free verse poetry in a humanistic celebration of humanity, in 1855. Emerson, whom Whitman revered, said of Leaves of Grass that it held "incomparable things incomparably said." During the Civil War, Whitman worked as an army nurse, later writing Drum Taps (1865) and Memoranda During the War (1867). His health compromised by the experience, he was given work at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. After a stroke in 1873, which left him partially paralyzed, Whitman lived his next 20 years with his brother, writing mainly prose, such as Democratic Vistas (1870). Leaves of Grass was published in nine editions, with Whitman elaborating on it in each successive edition. In 1881, the book had the compliment of being banned by the commonwealth of Massachusetts on charges of immorality. A good friend of Robert Ingersoll, Whitman was at most a Deist who scorned religion. D. 1892.
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