Dickinson vs Whitman
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.
Walt Whitman, excerpt from section 3, Song of Myself
Week 1 of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course by Al Filreis is about the poetry of two proto-modernists, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Some representative poems are discussed, with regard to how they break from traditional poetry and serve as prelude to future poets. In addition, an artificial binarism is created between Whitmanian and Dickinsonian modes of poetry, as being two opposite ends of the spectrum of poetic experimentalism and break from tradition in the nineteenth century.
Poems discussed in class
Emily Dickinson: Volcanoes be in Sicily, I dwell in Possibility, Tell all the Truth but tell it slant, The Brain within its Groove
Walt Whitman: Sections 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 14, 47 & 52 of Song of Myself