Page 88 - Jack Foley | The true litterateur
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WHITMAN’S “OUT OF THE CRADLE ENDLESSLY ROCKING”

                                                    (EXPOESIS)



                 I don’t think there is another poem
                 More unique

                 And, simultaneously,
                 More representative of

                 What we may call the American spirit
                 Than this amazing
                 Presentation of the making of a poet

                 Of the transformation of anyone
                 From childhood to a condition of knowledge

                 How do we enter the world in a deep way
                 It is an aria, a performance

                 Something Whitman saw in the opera houses,
                 It is a multi-voiced, multi-selved poem in which

                 All sorts of styles and “voices” are brought together
                 (Including the hissing voice of the old crone, the sea, and the
                 voice of the bird, “my dusky demon and brother,” “the lone

                 singer wonderful”)
                 It is a poem about family (the he-bird, the she-bird)

                 It is a poem about the stunning fact of Death the Opener
                 And the great representation of the sea (Melville)

                 (The sea is the openness of consciousness)
                 It is a nature poem

                 In which the “outsetting bard” merges with what he sees
                 It includes Quakers (“Ninth-month midnight”)
                 And Native Americans (“Paumanok”)

                 It is Whitman giving himself over to the sheer possibilities of
                 music











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