Rate this paper
  • Currently rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
4.00 / 3
Paper Topic:

Walt Whitman and the New York cultural scene



Course Title


Walt Whitman Sings the Song of New York

Many poets seek to express their feelings about their environment and homes through verse . Such is the case with the enigmatic Walt Whitman Whitman , a product of Brooklyn Heights , New York , was one of the first American poets to seek to create a definitive American poetic voice His appreciation and love for New York culture is boldly evident in his poetry

Whitman , at first , wanted nothing more than to unite the country through his poetry

, to create distinctly American verse . According to one literary critic , Whitman 's verse embodied nothing less than the hope of the new civilization of America and with it the prospect of a globally integrated and spiritually transfigured world (Bohan He first sought to create American soul through musical lyricism , such as that found in musical theatre . For the Bard of Democracy , as America came to call our great poet , music was a central metaphor in his life and work , both as a metaphysical mindset and as a practical reality (WALT WHITMAN : 1819-1892 . The poet was able to take his musical talents for creating rhythm and rhyme in verse and turn them into the radically free , rolling , thrusting verses which revitalized the entire world of poetic language (WALT WHITMAN : 1819-1892 . His job at New York City 's working press was to review operas at the local opera houses and remarked in an interview recounted by PBS , But for opera I would never have written LEAVES OF GRASS (WALT WHITMAN 1819-1892 . One will notice in the work that many allusions to songs and singers permeate this volume

The Poem of the Heart of the Son of Manhattan Island and Poem of the Singers and of the Words of Poems both reflect singing and musical themes . The first notes that For I am mad with /devouring ecstasy to make / joyous hymns for the whole earth ' which reveals Whitman 's great joy at creating music and verse , while the latter notes the permeation of singers and music in society

The singers of successive hours of centuries may

have ostensible names , but the name of each

of them is one of the singers

The name of each is , a heart-singer , eye-singer

hymn-singer , law-singer , ear-singer , head-

singer , sweet-singer , wise-singer , droll-

singer , thrift-singer , sea-singer , wit-singer

echo-singer , parlor-singer , love-singer , pas-

sion-singer , mystic-singer , weeping-singer

fable-singer , item-singer , or something else

Whitman felt that everyone had a song to be shared , and he was trying to define the songs of both New York and of America itself . His later poems I Hear America Singing ' and I Sing the Body Electric ' both continue the theme of music as a defining characteristic of Americans and particularly of New York City

In addition to music and opera , Whitman was a huge fan of the growing architectural and technological progress that was going on in New York particularly the bridges and the ferries . In his poem Song of Exposition ' Whitman raves about the Brooklyn Bridge as...

Not the Essay You're looking for? Get a custom essay (only for $12.99)