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22 May 2009

Panes of Glass || Leaves of Grass


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    Dear Ms —–,

    I like our correspondence so, with this caveat: I am wary of this much email communication without intervening spells of real human contact. One loses sight of the person behind the screen. As I said yesterday, it’s like talking through a pane of glass…

    I imagine breathing on the glass, leaving a coat of steam, then carving letters in it. It’s child-like and playful and appealing. But, to extend the metaphor to its breaking point, the whole thing can fade quickly when daylight is applied. Woosh. Like dew.

    (I’ll grant you there might be better onomatopoeia to imitate the sound evaporation than “woosh.”)

    Or to rephrase, as they say, there is water water everywhere these days, but not a drop to drink…


Mike Watt on Walt Whitman

Tom Waits, Roberto Benigni & John Lurie on Walt Whitman

    This book is notable for its delight in and praise of the senses during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral. Where much previous poetry, especially English, relied on symbolism, allegory, and meditation on the religious and spiritual, Leaves of Grass (particularly the first edition) exalted the body and the material world. Influenced by the Transcendentalist movement, itself an offshoot of Romanticism, Whitman’s poetry praises nature and the individual human’s role in it. However, Whitman does not diminish the role of the mind or the spirit; rather, he elevates the human form and the human mind, deeming both worthy of poetic praise.

“Copy of a Copy of An American Original”


Posted by Alec Hanley Bemis

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