- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable…”

 

Happy 200th birthday, Walt Whitman! Here are some quotes from his writing.

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, […] reexamine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

“To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough…”

“I think of few heroic actions, which cannot be traced to the artistical impulse. He who does great deeds, does them from his innate sensitiveness to moral beauty.”

“What an awful thing war is!”

“Some people are so much sunlight to the square inch.”

“Poetry (like a grand personality) is a growth of many generations—many rare combinations.”

“To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.”

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.”

“Each of us inevitable;
Each of us limitless—each of us with his or her right upon the earth.”

“Peace is always beautiful.”

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
I am large, I contain multitudes.”

“When I give, I give myself.”

“Resist much, obey little.”

“I have perceiv’d that to be with those I like is enough…”

“Happiness, knowledge not in another place but this place—not for another hour, but this hour.”

“I am satisfied…I see, dance, laugh, sing…”

“Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”

“My words itch at your ears till you understand them.”

“From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.”

 

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

Leave a Reply