Etikettarkiv: Walt Whitman

Veckans dikt 118: ”I Sing the Body Electric” av Walt Whitman

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
The love of the body of man or woman balks account, the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.
The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.
The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women, the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street, the contour of their shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls silently to and fro in the heave of the water,
The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats, the horseman in his saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles, and their wives waiting,
The female soothing a child, the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hoeing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six horses through the crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty, good-natured, native-born, out on the vacant lot at sun-down after work,
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle through clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,
The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again, and the listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck and the counting;
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother’s breast with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.
I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons,
And in them the fathers of sons, and in them the fathers of sons.
This man was of wonderful vigor, calmness, beauty of person,
The shape of his head, the pale yellow and white of his hair and beard, the immeasurable meaning of his black eyes, the richness and breadth of his manners,
These I used to go and visit him to see, he was wise also,
He was six feet tall, he was over eighty years old, his sons were massive, clean, bearded, tan-faced, handsome,
They and his daughters loved him, all who saw him loved him,
They did not love him by allowance, they loved him with personal love,
He drank water only, the blood show’d like scarlet through the clear-brown skin of his face,
He was a frequent gunner and fisher, he sail’d his boat himself, he had a fine one presented to him by a ship-joiner, he had fowling-pieces presented to him by men that loved him,
When he went with his five sons and many grand-sons to hunt or fish, you would pick him out as the most beautiful and vigorous of the gang,
You would wish long and long to be with him, you would wish to sit by him in the boat that you and he might touch each other.
I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.
There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.
This is the female form,
A divine nimbus exhales from it from head to foot,
It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction,
I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it,
Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heaven or fear’d of hell, are now consumed,
Mad filaments, ungovernable shoots play out of it, the response likewise ungovernable,
Hair, bosom, hips, bend of legs, negligent falling hands all diffused, mine too diffused,
Ebb stung by the flow and flow stung by the ebb, love-flesh swelling and deliciously aching,
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.
This the nucleus—after the child is born of woman, man is born of woman,
This the bath of birth, this the merge of small and large, and the outlet again.
Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.
The female contains all qualities and tempers them,
She is in her place and moves with perfect balance,
She is all things duly veil’d, she is both passive and active,
She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters.
As I see my soul reflected in Nature,
As I see through a mist, One with inexpressible completeness, sanity, beauty,
See the bent head and arms folded over the breast, the Female I see.
The male is not less the soul nor more, he too is in his place,
He too is all qualities, he is action and power,
The flush of the known universe is in him,
Scorn becomes him well, and appetite and defiance become him well,
The wildest largest passions, bliss that is utmost, sorrow that is utmost become him well, pride is for him,
The full-spread pride of man is calming and excellent to the soul,
Knowledge becomes him, he likes it always, he brings every thing to the test of himself,
Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail he strikes soundings at last only here,
(Where else does he strike soundings except here?)
The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred,
No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the laborers’ gang?
Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf?
Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,
Each has his or her place in the procession.
(All is a procession,
The universe is a procession with measured and perfect motion.)
Do you know so much yourself that you call the meanest ignorant?
Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she has no right to a sight?
Do you think matter has cohered together from its diffuse float, and the soil is on the surface, and water runs and vegetation sprouts,
For you only, and not for him and her?
A man’s body at auction,
(For before the war I often go to the slave-mart and watch the sale,)
I help the auctioneer, the sloven does not half know his business.
Gentlemen look on this wonder,
Whatever the bids of the bidders they cannot be high enough for it,
For it the globe lay preparing quintillions of years without one animal or plant,
For it the revolving cycles truly and steadily roll’d.
In this head the all-baffling brain,
In it and below it the makings of heroes.
Examine these limbs, red, black, or white, they are cunning in tendon and nerve,
They shall be stript that you may see them.
Exquisite senses, life-lit eyes, pluck, volition,
Flakes of breast-muscle, pliant backbone and neck, flesh not flabby, good-sized arms and legs,
And wonders within there yet.
Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations,
(Do you think they are not there because they are not express’d in parlors and lecture-rooms?)
This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics,
Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments.
How do you know who shall come from the offspring of his offspring through the centuries?
(Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you could trace back through the centuries?)
A woman’s body at auction,
She too is not only herself, she is the teeming mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow and be mates to the mothers.
Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man?
Do you not see that these are exactly the same to all in all nations and times all over the earth?
If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred,
And the glory and sweet of a man is the token of manhood untainted,
And in man or woman a clean, strong, firm-fibred body, is more beautiful than the most beautiful face.
Have you seen the fool that corrupted his own live body? or the fool that corrupted her own live body?
For they do not conceal themselves, and cannot conceal themselves.
O my body! I dare not desert the likes of you in other men and women, nor the likes of the parts of you,
I believe the likes of you are to stand or fall with the likes of the soul, (and that they are the soul,)
I believe the likes of you shall stand or fall with my poems, and that they are my poems,
Man’s, woman’s, child’s, youth’s, wife’s, husband’s, mother’s, father’s, young man’s, young woman’s poems,
Head, neck, hair, ears, drop and tympan of the ears,
Eyes, eye-fringes, iris of the eye, eyebrows, and the waking or sleeping of the lids,
Mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, roof of the mouth, jaws, and the jaw-hinges,
Nose, nostrils of the nose, and the partition,
Cheeks, temples, forehead, chin, throat, back of the neck, neck-slue,
Strong shoulders, manly beard, scapula, hind-shoulders, and the ample side-round of the chest,
Upper-arm, armpit, elbow-socket, lower-arm, arm-sinews, arm-bones,
Wrist and wrist-joints, hand, palm, knuckles, thumb, forefinger, finger-joints, finger-nails,
Broad breast-front, curling hair of the breast, breast-bone, breast-side,
Ribs, belly, backbone, joints of the backbone,
Hips, hip-sockets, hip-strength, inward and outward round, man-balls, man-root,
Strong set of thighs, well carrying the trunk above,
Leg fibres, knee, knee-pan, upper-leg, under-leg,
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel;
All attitudes, all the shapeliness, all the belongings of my or your body or of any one’s body, male or female,
The lung-sponges, the stomach-sac, the bowels sweet and clean,
The brain in its folds inside the skull-frame,
Sympathies, heart-valves, palate-valves, sexuality, maternity,
Womanhood, and all that is a woman, and the man that comes from woman,
The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter, weeping, love-looks, love-perturbations and risings,
The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!

Walt Whitman

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Under Veckans dikt

Kom i form med Walt Whitmans träningsguide

”To you, clerk, literary man, sedentary person, man of fortune, idler, the same advice. Up! … Out in the morning!”
– Walt Whitman, Manly Health and Training

Zachary Turpin, en doktorand vid University of Houston, har hittat ”a lost book, and a most unusual one, by Walt Whitman himself.” Boken är en guide i ”manly training” och publicerades under pseudonymen Mose Velsor. Den moderna amerikanska diktens urfader lär ut ”the science of a sound and beautiful body” och redaktören, Ed Folsom, som ansvarar för publiceringen av texten hävdar att den kommer att ”alter the course of Whitman scholarship and biography”.

Rapporterar The Guardian:

”In the journal, Turpin says the work can be seen as ‘an essay on male beauty, a chauvinistic screed, a sports memoir, a eugenics manifesto, a description of New York daily life, an anecdotal history of longevity, or a pseudoscientific tract’, and warns that it can be ‘eyebrow-raising’. ‘Readers should prepare to encounter a more-than-typically self-contradictory Whitman; his primary claims tilt from visionary to reactionary, commonsensical to nonsensical, egalitarian to racist, pacific to bloodthirsty – and back again,’ he says.”

Texten är ganska lång, 50.000 ord, och Whitman har mängder med tips. Bland annat framhåller han att ett skägg är ”a great sanitary protection for the throat.” Du kan läsa hela guiden här.

Utvalda dagar

Och så vill vi passa på att rekommendera en helt aktuell titel från ellerströms, Walt Whitmans Utvalda dagar, som, enligt diktaren själv, är ”kanske den mest egensinniga, spontana, fragmentariska bok som någonsin tryckts”. Det är en självbiografisk bok som bland annat skildrar poetens uppväxt i Brooklyn och upplevelser under inbördeskriget.

Ola Wihlke

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Under Nyheter

De mest amerikanska skönlitterära böckerna, enligt resten av världen

Inför 4 juli skickade den amerikanska litteratursajten Lit Hub ut en enkät till personer i andra delar av världen. Frågan löd: Vilka tre skönlitterära böcker tycker du är mest amerikanska? Det är naturligtvis inget vetenskapligt projekt, men man fick svar från 50 författare, redaktörer, förläggare, kritiker och översättare, från sammanlagt 30 länder.

Det här är en del statistik från enkätundersökningen: Antalet nämnda titlar: 96. Böcker skrivna av kvinnor: 19. Det mest populära decenniet: 00-talet. Det minst populära decenniet: 1940-talet. Den äldsta boken: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin (1791). Den nyaste boken: Tenth of December, George Saunders (2013). Mest nämnda författare: William Faulkner (8), Herman Melville (5), F. Scott Fitzgerald (4), J.D. Salinger (4), Mark Twain (4).

Och det här är de tre skönlitterära böcker vi tycker är mest amerikanska:

Moby-Dick (inbunden)

Moby Dick (1850) av Herman Melville

Inte direkt något originellt val, romanen klassas av många som The Great American Novel (GAN). Vi tycker att det för ofta framhålls hur svår och tung Moby Dick är och, visst, det är den på vissa sätt, men den är också oväntat humoristisk och lärorik. I vår recension hittar du fler argument för att ge dig på den stora vita valen.


Leaves of Grass (1885) av Walt Whitman

”I celebrate myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease….observing a spear of summer grass.”

Pale King The Air Exp (häftad)

The Pale King/Blek kung (2011) av David Foster Wallace

Många har valt Infinate Jest av David Foster Wallace. Vi väljer, trots att den inte fullbordades, hans sista bok och citerar ur vår recension DFW-biografin av D.T. Max: ”Han kunde uppenbarligen inte få ihop The Pale King, men trots att den är publicerad i ofullbordat skick är det i just denna roman DFW hittar den perfekta balansen mellan humor och tragik, intellekt och känsla. Frågan är om det inte är hans bästa bok.”

Och här följer några andra listor:

De 10 bästa amerikanska romanerna

10 Quintessentially American Novels

What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?

100 Best Novels

Ola Wihlke

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Under Artiklar, Listor

”Nej, jag vill inte läsa din självpublicerade bok”

”I asked Sutton, ‘What do you say to the indie writer who reminds you that Walt Whitman was self-published?’

‘You are not Walt Whitman,’ he said.”

Citerat ur ”No, I don’t want to read your self-published book” av Ron Charles i Washington Post, 1 oktober 2014. Charles skriver om Roger Sutton, chefredaktör för Horn Book magazine, som gått ut i ett öppet brev och förklarat varför inte han, eller särskilt många andra redaktörer, kan ta sig an självpublicerade böcker. Till Washington Post kommer det 120 nya böcker varje dag, böcker som filtrerats genom förlagssystemet.

Ola Wihlke

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Under Notiser

Veckans dikt 6: ”Miracles” av Walt Whitman

sqWalt BookVeckans dikt hittade vi i i love you before i die – a walt whitman mixtape som har sammanställts av poeten Steve Roggenbuck, nyligen kallad internetpoet i en stort uppslagen och uppskattande artikel i New Yorker. Walt Whitman (1819-1892), skriver Roggenbuck i dikthäftets förord, ”has shaped the core of my identity more than anything.”


Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of
    the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
    with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
    quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with
    the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—
    the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

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Under Veckans dikt

litterära termer 4: Alt Lit

”Along with Tao Lin, Roggenbuck is one of the bright stars of Alt Lit, an online writing community that emerged in 2011 and harnesses the casual affect and jagged stylistics of social media as the basis of their works—poems, stories, novels, tweets, and status updates. Its members have produced a body of distinctive literature marked by direct speech, expressions of aching desire, and wide-eyed sincerity. (“language is so cool. i can type out these shapes and you can understand me,” or “Yay! Dolphins are beautiful creatures and will always have a wild spirit. I have been very lucky because I have had the awesome experience of swimming with dolphins twice.”) The poems and stories, published on blogs and Twitter feeds, are usually written in the Internet vernacular of lowercase letters, inverted punctuation, abundant typos, and bad grammar. While other Web-based poetry movements exploit appropriated text—cutting and pasting or scooping vast amounts of preëxisting data—Alt Lit tends to use emo-heavy, homespun language, bearing the urgency and candor of a status update; no sentiment is too trite to be repurposed as poetry.”

Citerat ur ”If Walt Whitman Vlogged” av Kenneth Goldsmith i New Yorker, 7 maj 2014. Suverän artikel om man är intresserad av Alt Lit i allmänhet och Steve Roggenbuck i synnerhet. Full med bra länkar.

Och den här videon sammanfattar ganska väl Roggenbucks syn på poetens och poesins roll, med en självmedveten koppling till den romantiska traditionen.

Ola Wihlke

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Under Artiklar

Döda författare intervjuade av H.G. Wells

Författaren H.G. Wells sätter igång tidsmaskinen och bjuder in för länge sedan döda författare till Upright Citizens Brigade Theater i Los Angeles, där han samtalar med dem inför publik. Några av författarna har varit Gertude Stein, Jorge Luis Borges, Dorothy Parker, Walt Whitman och Ayn Rand.

Wells spelas av komikern Paul F. Tompkins och hans gäster får spela de olika författarna. Föreställningarna spelas in live och sänds sedan som podcast: The Dead Authors Podcast

Av de hittills 29 sända avsnitten är avsnitt 27 något alldeles extra, Kristen Schaal som Tennesse Williams


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Under Podcasts / radio

Historiens 10 mest litterära skägg

American Author Ernest Hemingway aboard his Ya...

Ernest Hemingway (Foto: Wikipedia)

Vi har tagit oss friheten att välja ut historiens 10 mest litterära skägg. Skäggen i sig är naturligtvis viktiga, men vi har även tagit viss hänsyn till om bärarna av skäggen kan/kunde skriva på ett sätt som svarar mot skäggens utseende. En annan faktor är med vilken pondus skäggen bärs/bars.

1.  Shakespeare (anchor)

2.  Leo Tolstoj (french fork)

3.  Walt Whitman (full beard)

4.  Miguel de Cervantes (van dyke)

5.  Samuel R. Delany (full beard)

6.  Geoffrey Chaucer (ducktail)

7.  Fjodor Dostojevskij (ragged french fork)

8.  Ezra Pound (handlebar & chin puff)

9.  August Strindberg (soul patch)

10.  DH Lawrence (short box)

Om du tycker att en författare på listan bör bytas ut och har ett förslag på en ersättare, får du mer än gärna skriva det i en kommentar. Vi är beredda att gå ganska långt för att komma fram till den definitiva listan. Om du känner att du vill fördjupa dig i ämnet litterära skägg kan den här boken vara något för dig.









Och så ett tips om en fördjupande artikel om en del av historien bakom den nya skäggtrenden, med riktigt mycket länkar till foton och videoklipp: ”The Racially Fraught History of the American Beard”.

Ola Wihlke

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Under Artiklar, Listor