Leaves of Grass
By Walt Whitman
Review by Sam Sørensen
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
— “O Me! O Life!” (1892)
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman is a collection of poetry with imagery that makes a heart swoon. First published in 1855, Whitman continually edited and revised for many years after, hence the many editions. The poems are loosely connected through the themes of nature and broader existence. Often, critics lament Whitman’s lengthy writing style. To be fair, “Song of Myself” is about 65 pages long. However, they fail to see Whitman’s eloquence in describing his subjects, often everyday people, and engaging the senses through nature. Whitman represents the common American; he praises the experiences of all men and women, honoring the little miracles, like a leaf of grass, that constitute our lives. This content is a deviation from the typical poetry, which often praised royalty,
I always revisit this collection at the beginning of each season because of its ability to ground me. I am constantly finding the relevance of different lines in the next read.
Check availability on Leaves of Grass
About the reviewer: Sam played many roles at TPL, including circulation assistant. Additionally, she has been reference assistant and programmer. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Lehigh University, but will be back this summer.