Tag Archives: weekly-whitman

Weekly Whitman: Eighteen Sixty-One

This is the second piece of poetry in Whitman’s collection Drum Taps which was inspired by his Civil War experiences.

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Weekly Whitman: “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”

As I wandered through the gardens of Colonial Williamsburg last weekend, a blooming lilac bush caught my eye and some Whitman poetry came to mind. I asked Miss Meg if I could take over her column for the week to … Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: “Walt Whitman on the Death of President Lincoln”

Walt Whitman wrote a great deal of prose as well as poetry. He went back to Lincoln’s assassination many times in both genres. This comes from Specimen Days, published later in Whitman’s life.

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Weekly Whitman: Old Ireland

Written in 1861, this poem makes special mention of the Union volunteers who lived in New York City. The Irish Diaspora had been bringing the Irish to the shores of America since the 1840s. The Civil War, twenty years later, … Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: Certain Civilians

No one is sure exactly who the “certain civilian” mentioned in the title of this poem might be, but my guess is that it was some young man who hung out at Pfaff’s Cellar on Broadway, near Bleeker Street. According … Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: Fire in the Sky

 My favorite time of the Civil War is the beginning. Hopes were high, and the sky was filled with flashing portents. Walt Whitman writes about one of them in “Year of Meteors 1859-60.” The “great comet” in the poem that … Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: “Beat! beat! drums!”

“Beat! beat! drums!” is another early war poem urging Walt Whitman’s beloved New York City to take up arms. Whitman wrote many of these, and never regretted any of them, even if he later saw war as quite different than … Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: “Come Up from the Fields, Father”

“Come Up from the Fields, Father” is one of my personal favorites. If anyone knew about letters sent home, but written in an unfamiliar hand, it would be the man who actually wrote those letters for soldiers who were too … Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: “Look down fair moon”

A scene Whitman used several times was the look of the battlefield, complete with casualties, under the moon. It was one of his first introductions to the realities of war, as he crossed several such scenes until he found his … Continue reading

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Weekly Whitman: “Drum-Taps”

The poem for which Whitman’s book of war poems, Drum-Taps, is named, reminds us that Whitman himself was forty-two when the Civil War broke out. He lived with his mother in Brooklyn, supporting them both with the money he made … Continue reading

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