I have become a Walt Whitman fan over the last week. I took time to read through some of his poetry in his Leaves of Grass. I like his free verse style and the way he captures a scene and puts the reader right there. It’s magical! His poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is captivating. I was skeptical of it after the first stanza, but by the third I felt as if I were there traveling with him. Towards the end, I could see the smirk on his face as he bragged about achieving his purpose of giving me the feeling that he was with me, as if he had travelled through time to the very moment I was reading it and imagining being there and feeling and thinking of the exact things he wanted me to.
The poem “I Sing the Body Electric” is by far my favorite right now. I love this poem for many reasons, but I initially read it because of Bull Durham. Bull Durham is my favorite movie of all time. I could easily watch it over and over, especially in mid to late February–that is when MLB players report to spring training. Susan Sarandon reads this poem the first night with “Nuke” (Tim Robbins) instead of having sex. However, after reading the poem for myself, that moment in the movie seems much more erotic–and that’s even with Nuke bieng tied up. Of course, her sexy tone in that movie makes it that much better. I could definitely slight sex for that to be read to me the way she reads it.
I know that I’m not quoting any of the lines in the works, this is because I want everyone that is unfamiliar with Whitman to get that initial personal feeling without any more insight. I will suggest a little background knowledge of Whitman and the time in which he wrote. This will give you a better sense of his compassion for the changing world around him.
As always, feel free to comment on how you feel about Whitman. And, by all means, suggest your favorite of his works and why, because I will definitely give them a read if I haven’t already.