Happy Birthday, Walter Whitman
  • Walter Whitman

    Walter Whitman

    Walter (“Walt”) Whitman, perhaps America’s only guru, turned 195-years-old today.

    He is unquestionably America’s most famous and most quintessential poet — who is second, I would add, only to Emily Dickenson as the most overrated.

    Walter Whitman, who opened the closet but wouldn’t come out; who lived in a kind of luxurious poverty — housekeeper, male nurse, amanuensis, carriage, on the bounty of admirers, adored as Ghandi or a Dr. Schweitzer, visited by Oscar Wilde and English titles, in Camden, New Jersey: Two-hundred pound of hype, nature-mystic who designed his tomb solid as an Egyptian pyramid, American to the soles of his boots, outspoken as Christ or Madame Blavatsky, Messiah, Muse of the Modern …


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The sawed-off shotgun of literary pulp.

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