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Complete Poems (Penguin Classics)

Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) by Walt Whitman (Author), Francis Murphy (Editor)

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In 1855 Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass, the work that defined him as one of America's most influential voices and that he added to throughout his life. A collection of astonishing originality and intensity, it spoke of politics, sexual emancipation, and what it meant to be an American. From the joyful "Song of Myself" and "I Sing the Body Electric" to the elegiac "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," Whitman's art fuses oratory, journalism, and song in a vivid celebration of humanity. Containing all Whitman's known poetic work, this edition reprints the final, or "deathbed," edition of Leaves of Grass (1891-92). Earlier versions of many poems are also given, including the 1855 "Song of Myself."

Reviews

5 out of 5 stars A beautiful [introduction] to Whitman, December 18, 2001

By liz (New Hampton School, NH)

This review is from: The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)

This collection of Whitman's poetry has the [ultimate] selection for any reader, whether one is experienced in the composition and [analysis] of Whitman or simply reading for pleasure. The book contains every known work by the author, as well as numerous editions of poems such as "Song of Myself" which was revised and reprinted by the author several times. If one is a fan of Walt Whitman, this is an excellent source of all his poetry compact into one book. If a person is just [beginning] to experience the poet, [everything] someone would want to read is at his or her fingertips.

5 out of 5 stars One of the Greats, February 12, 2008

By Mickey Callaghan (San Diego, CA USA)

Walt Whitman is, indisputably, America's poet. He is vast, large, contradictory (Do I contradict myself?/Very well then I contradict myself/(I am large, I contain multitudes)), beautiful and loose and American to the core!

His greatest poem is, in my opinion, "Song of Myself." This is far from a controversial opinion, and for good reason; the eighty-odd page long poem is an astounding epic--albeit, an unusual one, but a monumental achievement of literature. It is Whitman as Everyman, Whitman as you, as me, as all other mortals from China to Peru. I quote his beautiful closing stanzas:

"I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I

Love,

If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,

But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,

And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,

Missing me one place search another,

I stop some where waiting for you"

Such beauty in verse, especially free verse, is scarcely found, and, when found, must be cherished. There is a reason almost all poets after him--and not just poets in the English language, either (Borges, for example, aspired to be the "Whitman of Argentina")--have been influenced by him more so than any other poet besides perhaps Shakespeare and Milton.

Nor is "Song of Myself" his only great poem, though it surely be his greatest. His elegy for Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" is monumental (the great critic Harold Bloom declares it Whitman's finest poem, and thus the greatest of all American poems--I dissent, but uphold its marvel nonetheless), as is almost all of his wonderful corpus of poetry. Whitman is remarkable; he is inescapable; he is beautiful. Read him, and thou shalt be infinitely rewarded.

5 out of 5 stars very complete!, May 22, 2008

By Where Waldo? (Detroit, MI)

This book covers every one of the many, many revisions of Leaves of Grass. Great for [enjoyment] as well as research.


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