Pictures: An Unpublished Poem of Walt Whitman

Pictures: An Unpublished Poem of Walt Whitman

Pictures: An Unpublished Poem of Walt Whitman

Pictures: An Unpublished Poem of Walt Whitman

Excerpt

The pre-natal growth of "Leaves of Grass" becomes clearer all the while. The manuscript notebook printed here, from the large and valuable collection of Whitmaniana of Mr. Henry Goldsmith of New York, adds materially to that elucidation. It is extremely interesting, not only because of its length and because of the fact that it contains the germ of a number of later poems, but because it makes it possible for us now to see the same poem evolving through three or four stages of growth. All the other early notebooks were miscellaneous collections of poems, poem outlines, or plans for poems. But this whole notebook--what has not been cut out--is devoted to a single poem of the catalogue type called "Pictures." On the title page Whitman has instructed himself to "break all this into several Pictures;" and this he did, scattering passages from it widely through his editions from 1855 to 1881. But originally it was an attempt at a poem like "Faces" or "Salut au Monde!"-- the simplest poem structure he employed and one to be found . . .

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