A One-Question Survey…


  1. William Michaelian
    William Michaelian February 8, 2009 at 9:58 pm .

    Of course, speaking to the country in 1860 was a lot different than speaking to it now. In any case, so much seems to depend on the personality of the poet in question. One poet seeks or naturally gravitates toward a public role; another doesn’t but sees it as necessary and wishes he could; another is reclusive and runs from it; another sees it as arrogant, unnecessary, or foolish; and yet

  2. JeFF Stumpo
    JeFF Stumpo February 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm .

    To Baj and Joseph-<BR/><BR/>I seriously doubt the younger Whitman, the one who wrote anonymous "reviews" praising the first edition of Leaves of Grass and had them published in his newspaper and others, the one who had Emerson’s line "I greet you at the beginning of a great career" embossed on the cover of the second edition (without Emerson’s permission), would have passed up the opportunity to

  3. baj salchert
    baj salchert February 8, 2009 at 8:41 pm .

    I don’t know what Whitman would have done. I only know what he did, such as his work as a nurse among the soldiers and the gift of <I>When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed</I>.

  4. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 8, 2009 at 8:12 pm .

    Hey , Baj! You’re right, but I think Kirsch is wrong. As Whitman knew, oratory has great democratic potential and certainly befits (some) presidents. Especially in this case, the case I mean of a president who captured the imaginations of large numbers of people here and around the world, a president whose election represented an historic step forward for the Republic, surely in this case public

  5. vazambam
    vazambam February 8, 2009 at 6:26 pm .

    "The poet’s place" has always been and will always be in front of a blank piece of paper.

  6. baj salchert
    baj salchert February 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm .

    Read what Adam Kirsch wrote, then thought about it, and my impression is that if <I>he</I> had been asked to be the inaugural poet/ he would have refused because for him the platform represents oratory, and oratory may befit autocrats but it doesn’t befit presidents.

  7. JeFF Stumpo
    JeFF Stumpo February 7, 2009 at 10:47 pm .

    I had to wrestle with the variations a bit, but it made some sense to me.<BR/><BR/>To be on the platform speaking for the people (with or without irony) I can easily construe as propaganda. Or/related, it could be to make the persona of the poet more important than the words – that the crowd-identity comes together in one entity (the poet, but not the poem) onstage.<BR/><BR/>The poet in the crowd

  8. Joseph Hutchison
    Joseph Hutchison February 7, 2009 at 10:42 pm .


  9. William Michaelian
    William Michaelian February 7, 2009 at 9:50 pm .

    The word “blather” comes to mind.

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