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Monday, July 04, 2005

Singing The Body Electric, 150 Years On

"[Walt] Whitman called Leaves of Grass 'the new Bible'. He had a messianic view of himself as poetic Answerer come to heal American society. By absorbing and magnifying his culture's best aspects, he believed his poetry could help unify a nation fractured by class conflicts, shady politics, and racial tensions. The poet, he wrote in his preface, ''is the equalizer of his age and land. . . he supplies what wants supplying and checks what wants checking.' He offered a recipe for healing: ''This is what you shall do . . . read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life.' "

An op-ed piece in The Boston Globe sings a paean
to Walt Whitman on the 150th anniversary of Leaves of Grass. Though it must be said that the poet's homeland seems to be taking its cues nowadays from the work of another Walt -- the guy who gave us Mickey and Donald.

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