Wit’ Man’s Will, All Things Are Possible –

Cover
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, (Camden, New Jersey). Image courtesy of the Sheridan Libraries, The Johns Hopkins University.

Even ghosts. Well, maybe not; but it is possible for a man to stamp an everlasting insignia onto this world. The Author’s edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is bound in Morrocan leather and decorated with a golden border design in the cover. At first glance, this book is meant to showcase Whitman’s works, but what should really convince readers of the book’s value is what is on the title page. Below the title, there is a poem.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, (Camden, New Jersey). Image courtesy of the Sheridan Libraries, The Johns Hopkins University.

This poem equates Whitman’s poetry to his very own literary formaldehyde; what this specific poem suggests is that his writing preserves his essence. After one reads it, I would not be surprised if he or she did not imagine Whitman looking over his or her shoulder and at his book. His works are his ticket to life on earth after death because they establish his presence. This speaks to readers. The introductory poem reminds them that Whitman owns the verses, and what better way than to start off with than the title page? Even today, as people chant and read the verses, an introduction such as this one reminds them that the poems are on loan. This may sound eerie, but it adds value to the book because the introduction credits every work as a piece of Whitman. I would not blame him for doing this since he struggled to support himself and his family. With so many inconsistencies and having to live from the charity of other writers, it is logical that he would have wanted to make something that would last.

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