Pop Culture Whitman: Josie Long

“When I was 12, I sang in my local choir – what a cool dude. We would do adaptations of Walt Whitman’s poems, including One’s-Self I Sing from his collection Leaves of Grass, in which he celebrates life’s ‘passion, pulse and power’. There’s a great line: ‘The female equally with the male I sing.’ When I read it for the first time, I just thought: ‘Yes!’

A few years later, I picked up one of his books for a quid. Some of his work is so epic, it’s overwhelming. As a teenager, I read a lot of poetry that was very terse, like Sylvia Plath’s, but Whitman is all over the place. I love all the Os and the exclamation marks – it’s like he just thought, ‘These are the things that I felt I must say today!’ and ‘These are the things that have happened to me!’ There are some powerful poems about the civil war, during which he worked as a nurse, but then some of it is really quite small too. He fits in all of human experience.'”

Read more of Josie’s story in the Guardian here!


3 thoughts on “Pop Culture Whitman: Josie Long

  1. “Some of his work is so epic, it’s overwhelming.”
    Sometimes I feel like that with some of Oscar Wilde’s work – I have to put the book away for a few seconds in order to really absorb it… it’s nice to have words put on the feeling 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!!! I feel like that, too, particularly in certain passages of “Song of Myself” and “To Think of Time”.

      Percy Shelley’s “Masque of Anarchy” and his “On Love” essay also strike me.

      I love Oscar Wilde too! And I always think it’s really cool that the two (Wilde and Whitman) became friends (if not lovers). There’s something neat about the thought of two literary greats hanging out with each other.

      Liked by 1 person

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