The young journalist and reformer Horace Traubel visited Whitman nearly every day at his home in Camden, New Jersey. Whitman liked to talk, especially about the big issues, spiritual, political – all he’d learned over seven decades of peace and war. To mark the bicentenary of Walt Whitman’s death, Carcanet presents Brenda Wineapple’s distillation from these conversations with the great American poet.
Whitman speaks from the heart, an old man who changed the course of American poetry and, by extension, the poetries of Europe, Asia, Latin America. Here, too, is the poet’s worldly side – recalling the opprobrium heaped on Leaves of Grass for its poetic risks and sexual frankness; memories of Thoreau, Emerson and Lincoln; his judgments of Shakespeare, Goethe and Tolstoy; and his sense of the Nation.