These reflections by one of America's greatest poets on the nation's most momentous struggle began when Walt Whitman discovered his brother's name in a newspaper list of Union Army casualties. The poet hurried from his Brooklyn home to a Virginia battlefront, where he found his brother, wounded but recovering. Profoundly moved by his experiences in the army hospital, Whitman settled in Washington, D.C., for the rest of the war. There he served as a military hospital volunteer, offering medical and spiritual comfort to sick and dying soldiers.
Compiled when the great poet was 70 years old, November Boughs offers verse and prose reminiscences of a singular American life. Walt Whitman's reflections begin with the essay "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads," in which he discusses the genesis of his most famous and controversial book, Leaves of Grass.
Walt Whitman worked as a nurse in an army hospital during the Civil War and published Drum-Taps, his war poems, as the war was coming to an end. Later, the book came out in an expanded form, including “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd,” Whitman's passionate elegy for Lincoln. The most moving and enduring poetry to emerge from America’s most tragic conflict, Drum-Taps also helped to create a new, modern poetry of war, a poetry not just of patriotic exhortation but of somber witness. Drum-Taps is thus a central work not only of the Civil War but of our war-torn times.
In 1855, Walt Whitman published — at his own expense — the first edition of Leaves of Grass, a visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter.
This book brings together almost all of the known interviews Elizabeth Bishop gave over a period of thirty years. Included also are a few selected pieces based on conversations with her. All together they allow her ardent and admiring readers a rewarding, close-up encounter with one of America's great writers.
In this collection of conversations Bishop expresses her opinions about various types of poetry, describes her view of the geography of the imagination in the writing process, defends her often criticized feminist views, and discusses her role as teacher and poet.
The substantial, revealing—and often very funny—interchange that they produced stands as a remarkable collective achievement, notable for its sustained conversational brilliance of style, its wealth of literary history, its incisive snapshots and portraits of people and places, and its delicious literary gossip, as well as for the window it opens into the unfolding human and artistic drama of two of America's most beloved and influential poets.