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Leaves of Grass Paperback – June 29, 2007
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If you enjoy poetry and wonder, this is the book for you.
“I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness.”
“Stand up for the Crazy and Stupid”
“Resist much, obey little.”
“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.”
Whitman's poems catalog his transcendentalism-inspired view of... everything. From scenes across the world, with particular focus on America, to anecdotes of dying soldiers and copulating couples, Whitman emphasizes the interconnectedness of humanity and nature.
While Whitman's enthusiasm is infectious, he lacks brevity. He repeats his philosophy like a club over the head. The final product could've been cut in half and still have gotten across the message.
But darn if there aren't moments of beauty. Particularly in the later poems which were added in his later years, Whitman tempers his enthusiasm with more brief, succinct, thoughtful, and hopeful words in the face of impending death. And I think that is the best occasion for Whitman's leaves: when one needs comfort that there is indestructible purpose and beauty in every human's life.