Skip to main content
11 votes
Accepted

Who is the speaker in "O Captain! My Captain!"

Whitman was slightly closer to Lincoln than "just ... a citizen": according to David S. Reynolds in the Journal of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, he had a nodding acquaintance with ...
Gaurav's user avatar
  • 1,710
9 votes

What did Walt Whitman mean by "a pennant universal"?

He is talking about a "spiritual" "flag" for all sailors. Whitman starts by talking about the different flags of different nations. But by line three he is talking about "one ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

What does "balks account" mean in Walt Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric"?

It might help if you look at the possible meanings of both words - ‘balk’ and ‘account’. ‘Balk’ has a range of meanings, and they might seem quite different; however, as is often the case, the ...
Anya's user avatar
  • 186
6 votes
Accepted

Savantism by Whitman

Just for clarity, I believe the intended meaning of "savantism" in the poem title is not related to "Savant Syndrome" or terms such as "idiot savant" and "autistic savant", concepts that I believe ...
user6832's user avatar
  • 116
6 votes

Was Whitman the first poet to write in sentence fragments?

No, at least one poet used sentence fragments in large scale in some of his poems nearly a century before Walt Whitman. This was Christopher Smart, who wrote unconventional poetry in the 18th century. ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
  • 12.7k
5 votes

Understanding two lines from "The Wound-Dresser" by Walt Whitman

The text of the poem establishes that "you" refers to O maidens and young men I love and that love me, Who are asking about the war and the time in the hospital. (The first stanza has the ...
Kate Gregory's user avatar
5 votes

"inlooped flags" in Whitman's poem

If you look at some of the pictures from the Funeral you will see that while the flags that are on vertical flag poles are flying at half mast as a mark of respect, flags that are on angled or ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 19.1k
5 votes

Usage of the word "spheres" in "A Noiseless Patient Spider"

From context, I'd take this to be the celestial spheres, an old cosmological idea that originated in antiquity. Briefly, each planet, including the sun and moon, where thought to inhabit their own ...
andejons's user avatar
  • 3,485
4 votes
Accepted

What does "atomies" mean here?

The confusion comes from Whitman's using a (now archaic) word form. I don't know to what degree Whitman's specific choice "atomies" was standard in his time, but Whitman is generally considered a ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
  • 4,253
3 votes
Accepted

What does Walt Whitman mean by the last two lines in his poem, "The Voice of the Rain"?

The last two lines compare the composition of poetry to the hydrological cycle. This is the converse of the third line, in which the rain compares itself to poetry. The first eight lines are a poetic ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
  • 57.9k
3 votes

Some Problem about Whitman's Language

The since in as a month since I walk’d means 'ago'. It's a usage I haven't heard since my Northumbrian grandparents died, and I think it may have been more common up there in the North, and in ...
Old Brixtonian's user avatar
3 votes

What does it mean to ask 'what is the subject of this poem'?

Actually it is difficult at times to differentiate between subject matter and theme of a work of art , one dissolves into the other. The only yard-stick is how one presents his case. Rand alThor shows ...
Barid Baran Acharya's user avatar
2 votes

What does "atomies" mean here?

According to me, here 'atomies' means the tiny particles.This is because in the line 'I descend(moving down or to a lower level;as the rain drops itself on Earth) to lave(wash) the droughts, atomies, ...
adie_'s user avatar
  • 21
2 votes

What is the name of this op-ed/essay/newspaper article written by Walt Whitman

It's "The Eighteenth Presidency!", found here. Whence then do these nominating dictators of America year after year start out? From lawyers' offices, secret lodges, back-yards, bedhouses, ...
bobsmith76's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Meaning of "tally" in Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d"

To the tally of my soul A tally is indeed a state of correspondence or agreement, but still a question remains: What's the tally of a soul? In other words: What does the soul of the narrator ...
HeyJude's user avatar
  • 1,584
1 vote

What did Walt Whitman mean by "a pennant universal"?

Not a kind of pennant , but pennants in general. Adjectival postposition (and strange syntax/anastrophe in general) is a classic poetic device, particularly in older texts. As A Poet's Glossary ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 3,208
1 vote
Accepted

Was Whitman the first poet to write in sentence fragments?

Whitman is precisely the opposite of fragmentary: he writes inclusively, compositely, with a long and loping cadence. That is his entire theme as well as his most characteristic form. For fragments, ...
AJS's user avatar
  • 46
1 vote
Accepted

What did Edmund Gosse mean by “servers of pillows to all armholes”?

The criticism in Ezekiel isn’t of fashionable clothing. Looking at a more modern translation we get: Woe to the women who sew magic bands on the wrist of every hand and who make veils for the heads ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 19.1k
1 vote

Understanding two lines from "The Wound-Dresser" by Walt Whitman

I wonder if the 'Whoever' informs your question about who is doing the following and being. Rather than specifying a single person and asking who that one person is, the statement then would address a ...
waywardrivulet's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible