Dear Walt Whitman

May    2012   

Dear Walt Whitman,

 I am a student who has been reading your piece of work-‘Leaves of Grass’. It is a very great pleasure to me to write a letter to you thus, I appreciate your wonderful poetry with all of my heart. While I was reading, I was very impressed by your vivid image of nature.

I admire your poem in various aspects because I felt really comfortable since you have used nature as a main feature and also at the same time raising other ideas and themes. At the beginning of your poem, it says: “I CELEBRATE myself; And what I assume; For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.” This quotation I read made me to think deeply than the other phrases in the poem. Because of the word ‘atom’ and ‘belonging to me and to you’. I wondered what it meant but at last I realized that it is actually representing equality. There are a lot of quotes indicating the naturalism: “I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked.” It displays that being natural is a positive action to be taken. Lastly, I have got deepest feeling towards this quote: “ And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier” First time reading this, I was quite surprised at the fact that such a negative action to you seems natural and described positively.

Regardless of all of those above, I have one thing confused about. I believe that at your times, the literature was deeply connected to the political situations. Therefore, I was looking more of war, conflictions, dissension and critical aspects to public. However, in your poetry every view is relatively positive and I wonder whether if you also think that those negative actions also a natural occurrence and optimistic. Throughout the whole poem, your poem indicates a few themes such as Individualism, humans as natural beings, freedom and organic world.

As I have been reading this poem, I thought it would be nice to recommend this poem to Beethoven. Since this poem is optimistic, I consider that it could have gave Beethoven a hope earlier in his composition. I found that Beethoven had a misery life and this poem would gave him more inspiration when composing music and make him feel more relieved from all his negative thoughts.

Here are some questions I wonder after read your poem!! There are a lot of vivid imagery used in your poem, and I wonderwhere you get those inspirations from and why would you use nature as the theme since in that era a lot of writers were influenced by politics at that time. But, despite you wrote a completely different- an optimistic poem.

Although there was various things that I was confused about, but still it is a remarkable poem that raised me some questions. I want to appreciate again for letting readers to learn more about you, your poem and literature.


             Diana Kim                




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