Collaborating with Whitman
(or A Super Duper Elucidation of His Preface to Leaves of Grass (1855)
Dr. Jessica Brophy and her spring 2011 American Literature students
The American poet is tumultuous—envisioned—like the fall of a river from a cliff but he is calm in the hidden depths of his soul. His words, though piercing, may be lost to the raging wind—listen closely.
The American poet is an individual and is not able to be regulated. She is responsible for our eyesight and what we deem possible or marvelous.
The American poet is blind. He is a dream. She is imagination. He is the light at the end of the tunnel. She is the world as we know it. He is exactly the same as everyone else. She is a door that leads to and from madness. He is your illusion.
The American poet shall break new ground, and become the master of the universe, and he will yell, “I have the power!”
The American poet is engaged by others and the energy of the Earth. He is versed in life and spirituality.
The American poet travels in time. He does not constrain his mind with limits of space.
The American poet realizes the divinity of man and woman alike, and does not burden himself with the concerns of God or the great master, because to God we are ants, and our world is his ant farm.
The American poet—he is generous, non-superficial. The American poet—he knows no judgment, only acceptance. The American poet understands the basis of life and the teamwork it brings. The American poet stands against all obstacles for what he believes in.
The American poet is determined to express his ideas, emphasizing each thought, expressing it with every detail imaginable.
The American poet feels free, feels confessional, takes delight in mini-golf and wine bars. She suffers under the paradox of living with freedom and observing other’s suffocation in the Abu Ghraib prisons, nuclear reactor sites, and deserts with no flowers. The American poet lives with her liberty but can’t smell it.
The American poet gazes at the kosmos.
The American poet sees the fires of the forest rise up into the night sky. They glow and give warmth to all around it. The snow around the forest melts and turns to water, making a river, which flows to the village. The ash of the fire covers the ground. A rebirth of the forest happens when spring comes. The smoke has gone. The fires have gone. Today, a new day takes root.
The American poet utilizes the rudiments and slang of English. The American poet expresses freedom in millions of synonyms. The American poet bemoans trouble and cheers life.
The American poet loves originality. The American poet dares wimps and applauds heroes. The American poet educates people on patriotism. The American poet throws away masks and communicates straightforwardly. The American poet writes the thoughts of you and I.
Return to Polis 2012
Return to Poetry and Prose, 2012