Hun 18, 2015


AN— it ends with “Others will punctually come for ever and ever.” but before that, this— “And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times, / And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero, / And there is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel’d universe, / And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.”

DE— A good catch is a good catch. I have been saving a Hopkins quote, and it seems this is where it should go: “I always knew in my heart Whitman's mind to be more like my own than any man's living. As he is a very great scoundrel, this is not a pleasant confession.”

A poem has been written about this connection, one that goes rather well with the lines you’ve ear-marked. I’ll see if I can dig it up later in the day.

AN— the plenty of the ambiguous

DE— Hi Ruth! That’d be a list including Emerson, Longfellow, Thoreau, and Poe. Here’s a view from wiki.

DE— Hi Maria! I find Emerson a good place to start when it comes to Whitman. They seem to share something vital in terms of spirit, not only thought. Here's a letter from Emerson to Whitman.

AN— love this, though elvis might have been a bit more forward than walt

AN— a pleasure

DE— Hello again! I was talking about a new poem, luckily available for reading here. Schulman’s “Letter Never Sent” begins with the Hopkins quote as an epigraph then tenders us such tercets as these:

         we cannot walk together,
         I in black soutane, you
         in an open shirt,

         nor can I send this letter,
         Jesuit to scoundrel,

DE—Thanks for this surprising but apparently productive way to compare (gaps/absences). Not sure yet if I got your point right, but here’s a shot: He promotes contradiction means that Whitman’s actually giving an excess of answers. But instead of choosing one or two from his bounty of conflicting positions, the (absent?) answer is to embrace contradiction itself (as Whitman does “for ever and ever”).

AN— (edgar allan’s still outside of course, shouting about family, inheritance, demanding to be let in, a stolen bottle of whiskey in the curl of his fist)

DE— Says around after the middle of the first paragraph here (courtesy of Jarrell) that Hopkins actually saw five or six Whitman poems in a newspaper review. In her poem, Schulman pushes it up to “memorized” (not yet sure if there’s basis for that, but it sure sounds like something a Hopkins would do to “assume” a Whitman):

         Let each in his way
         catch the hawk alive in air,
         tongue-tied, stammering,

         in whatever whirled words
         will suffice.
         I’ve memorized six of your poems

         and must not go further.

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