Monday, September 07th, 2009 | Author:


Stop this day and 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.

In these lines Whitman invites us to experience life firsthand and to find our own truth through life experience, not through books and secondary accounts. This is something I’ve tried to do in the past few years of my life. When I graduated several years ago, I rejected the conventional career path others expected me to follow and traveled around the world being reckless and marginally employed. Many of the most interesting places were the ones people and guide books told me to avoid. Only by listening and being my own filter was I able to have these life-enriching experiences.

Whitman’s uncharacteristic modesty made me laugh:

you shall not look through my eyes either or take things from me

But isn’t that the whole point of this class?

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  1. I’m glad you identify with Whitman, the non-conformist. Great question about the point of this class. When we read the work of any author, aren’t we looking through his eyes, but also creating our own meaning as well as following the author’s? Does Whitman invite more of this creative interaction than most writers? And does digital media invite this interaction and creativity more than usual? I’d like to be able to answer these questions more fully by the end of the semester.

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