Friday, April 10, 2009

New Orleans, Walt Whitman, and Leaves of Grass

old new orleansAs good poems do, New Orleans opens hearts. It split wide the soul of Walt Whitman, the man who became the nation's poet during America's darkest hour, the Civil War.

The city itself is a poem, pricking over the ages the imaginations of writers around the world. Its unique rhythm is the beat of human passion rushing through every city artery and canal, cloaked in music and poetic mystery. And so, since April is National Poetry Month and since Walt Whitman once slept here, we have a ready excuse to gaze at NOLA and consider how the city influenced literary history.

More than likely, you know of Whitman even if you don't consider yourself a poetry lover. Across this nation you'll find schools, parks, and buildings named to honor him. Furthermore,you may have had to study his poems in a class. But did you know that the first lines of his most famous work, Leaves of Grass, evolved after he lived for a time in New Orleans? The Crescent City directly influenced Whitman's beliefs about human rights and the power of the individual voice. ... Continue reading full post at this link.

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