Leaves of Grass

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What to expect

One of the great innovative figures in American letters, Walt Whitman created a daring new kind of poetry that became a major force in world literature. His poems have been woven into the very fabric of the American character and have continued to provide inspiration to people and poets for generations.

Leaves of Grass is Whitman’s masterpiece, written in a pure, uninhibited style and combining sensual and mystical sensibilities. Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose essay “The Poet” inspired the work, praised it, saying”I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom America has yet contributed.”Self-published in 1855, it was repeatedly expanded and revised by Whitman throughout the rest of his life. This recording follows the final, most complete edition which appeared in 1892, the year of Whitman’s death.

Among the poems in the collection are “Song of Myself,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” Whitman’s elegy to the assassinated president Abraham Lincoln.

Critics Review

  • “Not only the single greatest poetic triumph to emerge from Transcendentalism but also the first collection of poetry uniquely American in vision, voice, form, and substance.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature
  • Leaves of Grass is a good choice to listen to while cooking, cleaning, gardening, or doing other chores that require rhythmic repetitive motion and leave your mind free to wander. Walt Whitman’s reverence for the marvelous and the majestic, and his explorations of life’s mysteries, can bring another dimension to any mundane task. But it requires concentration to follow along closely to poem after poem, despite Robin Field’s pleasing voice and astute interpretations. This volume, however, can be listened to repeatedly, as Field brings new life to Whitman’s poems with his intelligent emphasis and emotion. And when Field recites a particularly resonant phrase at just the right time, the moment can turn into song.”

    AudioFile

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