'Says' by Walt Whitman
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I SAY whatever tastes sweet to the most perfect person, that is
I say nourish a great intellect, a great brain;
If I have said anything to the contrary, I hereby retract it.
I say man shall not hold property in man;
I say the least developed person on earth is just as important and
sacred to himself or herself, as the most developed person is
to himself or herself.
I say where liberty draws not the blood out of slavery, there slavery
draws the blood out of liberty,
I say the word of the good old cause in These States, and resound it
hence over the world.
I say the human shape or face is so great, it must never be made
I say for ornaments nothing outre can be allowed,
And that anything is most beautiful without ornament,10
And that exaggerations will be sternly revenged in your own
physiology, and in other persons' physiology also;
And I say that clean-shaped children can be jetted and conceived only
where natural forms prevail in public, and the human face and
form are never caricatured;
And I say that genius need never more be turned to romances,
(For facts properly told, how mean appear all romances.)
I say the word of lands fearing nothing--I will have no other land;
I say discuss all and expose all--I am for every topic openly;
I say there can be no salvation for These States without innovators--
without free tongues, and ears willing to hear the tongues;
And I announce as a glory of These States, that they respectfully
listen to propositions, reforms, fresh views and doctrines,
from successions of men and women,
Each age with its own growth.
I have said many times that materials and the Soul are great, and
that all depends on physique;20
Now I reverse what I said, and affirm that all depends on the
æsthetic or intellectual,
And that criticism is great--and that refinement is greatest of all;
And I affirm now that the mind governs--and that all depends on the
With one man or woman--(no matter which one--I even pick out the
With him or her I now illustrate the whole law;
I say that every right, in politics or what-not, shall be eligible to
that one man or woman, on the same terms as any.
Editor 1 Interpretation
#Poetry, Says: A Literary Masterpiece by Walt Whitman
“The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.”
Walt Whitman, hailed as the father of free verse, was an American poet, essayist and journalist who wrote about the beauty of the human experience. He was a literary giant whose works transcended boundaries of time and space, and were loved and appreciated by people all over the world.
One such work that stands out in his vast repertoire of literature is “Poetry, Says”. This poem is a beautiful tribute to poetry, which is not only a medium of expression but also a means of understanding the self and the world around us.
In this detailed 4000 word literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve deeply into the nuances of “Poetry, Says” and explore the various themes and literary techniques used by Whitman in this masterpiece.
##Structure of the Poem
“Poetry, Says” is a four-stanza poem, with each stanza comprising of six lines. The poem follows a consistent rhyme scheme of AABBCC. The use of consistent rhyme scheme lends a musical quality to the poem, which is in sync with the theme of poetry being a medium of expression.
The poem opens with the line “Poetry, says the poet” which is then repeated at the beginning of each stanza. This repetition acts as a refrain, and serves to reinforce the central theme of the poem.
##Themes of the Poem
“Poetry, Says” is a beautiful exploration of the theme of poetry and its role in human life. Whitman explores various facets of poetry, and its ability to evoke emotions and connect people.
###1. Poetry as a medium of expression
Whitman presents poetry as a medium of expression that enables people to communicate their deepest emotions and thoughts. He writes that poetry “is the voice of feeling, and not of intellect”.
Through this line, Whitman emphasizes the importance of emotions in poetry, suggesting that poetry is a means of expressing emotions that cannot be conveyed through mere intellectual discourse. He believes that poetry is a medium that enables us to explore the depths of our soul and express ourselves in ways that would be impossible through other mediums of expression.
###2. Poetry as a means of understanding the self
Whitman also presents poetry as a means of understanding the self. He writes that poetry “is the principal means of the soul’s intercourse”.
Through this line, Whitman suggests that poetry is a means of connecting with our innermost selves and understanding our deepest desires and fears. He believes that poetry enables us to explore our own hearts and minds, and to gain a deeper understanding of our own being.
###3. Poetry as a means of connecting people
Whitman believes that poetry has the ability to connect people across cultures, languages and geographies. He suggests that poetry “is the common fibre of spiritual communication”.
Through this line, Whitman emphasizes the universality of poetry, suggesting that it is a language that can be understood by people all over the world. He believes that poetry has the ability to connect people on a spiritual level, and to create a sense of unity and understanding among people.
###4. Poetry as a medium of truth
Whitman presents poetry as a medium of truth, suggesting that poetry has the ability to reveal the deeper truths of life that cannot be conveyed through other mediums of expression. He writes that poetry “is the truth, and not the facts”.
Through this line, Whitman emphasizes the importance of truth in poetry, suggesting that it is the essence of poetry. He believes that poetry has the ability to reveal the deeper truths of life, and to convey a sense of meaning and purpose that cannot be found through mere facts.
##Literary Devices Used in the Poem
“Poetry, Says” is a beautiful example of the use of literary devices in poetry. Whitman uses a variety of literary devices to convey the central themes of the poem.
Whitman uses repetition in the poem to emphasize the central theme of poetry. The line “Poetry, says the poet” is repeated at the beginning of each stanza, acting as a refrain that reinforces the importance of poetry in human life.
Whitman also uses alliteration in the poem to create a musical quality that is in sync with the theme of poetry being a medium of expression. For example, in the first stanza, he writes “The joyous news that all is alive”. The repetition of the “j” sound creates a sense of joy and exuberance that is in line with the theme of the stanza.
Whitman uses metaphor in the poem to convey the deeper meanings of poetry. For example, he writes that poetry “is the voice of feeling, and not of intellect”. Through this metaphor, he emphasizes the importance of emotions in poetry, suggesting that it is a medium of expression that enables us to convey our deepest feelings.
Whitman also uses imagery in the poem to create a sense of visual representation of the themes of the poem. For example, he writes that poetry “is the principal means of the soul’s intercourse”. Through this imagery, he creates a sense of connection between the soul and poetry, suggesting that poetry is a means of connecting with our innermost selves.
##Interpretation of the Poem
“Poetry, Says” is a beautiful exploration of the theme of poetry and its role in human life. The poem presents poetry as a medium of expression, a means of understanding the self, a means of connecting people, and a medium of truth.
Through the use of literary devices such as repetition, alliteration, metaphor and imagery, Whitman conveys the deeper meanings of poetry and its importance in human life.
The poem is an ode to poetry, and serves as a reminder of the beauty and power of this medium of expression. It is a call to all of us to engage with poetry, and to explore the depths of our own beings through this beautiful art form.
In conclusion, “Poetry, Says” is a literary masterpiece that showcases the genius of Walt Whitman. Through this poem, he presents poetry as a medium of expression that enables us to convey our deepest emotions, a means of understanding the self, a means of connecting people, and a medium of truth. It is a beautiful tribute to the human experience, and serves as a reminder of the importance of poetry in our lives.
“To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.”
Let us be a great audience for the great poets like Walt Whitman, and let us appreciate the beauty and power of poetry.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Poetry Says: A Celebration of the Power of Words
Walt Whitman's "Poetry Says" is a timeless ode to the power of language and the transformative potential of poetry. Written in his signature free verse style, the poem is a celebration of the beauty and complexity of the written word, and a call to arms for all those who seek to harness its power.
At its core, "Poetry Says" is a meditation on the relationship between language and the human experience. Whitman begins the poem by declaring that "Poetry says the word that cannot be said," a statement that encapsulates the paradoxical nature of language itself. Words are our primary means of communication, yet they are often inadequate to express the full range of human emotion and experience. Poetry, however, has the ability to transcend the limitations of language, to capture the ineffable and the intangible in a way that no other form of expression can.
Throughout the poem, Whitman explores the many ways in which poetry can transform our understanding of the world around us. He writes that poetry "says what we feel but cannot utter," giving voice to the deepest, most profound aspects of our inner selves. Through poetry, we are able to connect with others on a level that transcends the boundaries of time and space, forging a sense of community and shared experience that is both powerful and enduring.
At the same time, "Poetry Says" is also a celebration of the sheer beauty and musicality of language itself. Whitman revels in the sounds and rhythms of words, using repetition and alliteration to create a sense of movement and momentum that propels the poem forward. He writes that poetry "says the unsayable in a thousand different ways," highlighting the infinite variety and richness of the written word.
Perhaps most importantly, "Poetry Says" is a call to action for all those who seek to use language as a force for change in the world. Whitman writes that poetry "says the things that need to be said," urging us to use our words to speak truth to power and to challenge the status quo. He reminds us that poetry has the power to inspire, to uplift, and to transform, and that we must use this power to create a better world for ourselves and for future generations.
In many ways, "Poetry Says" is a quintessentially Whitmanesque poem. It embodies many of the themes and motifs that are central to his work, including a celebration of the natural world, a belief in the inherent goodness of humanity, and a deep reverence for the power of language. At the same time, however, it is also a deeply personal and introspective work, reflecting Whitman's own struggles to find meaning and purpose in a rapidly changing world.
Overall, "Poetry Says" is a powerful and inspiring work that speaks to the very heart of what it means to be human. It reminds us of the transformative potential of language, and of the importance of using our words to create a better world for ourselves and for others. As we navigate the complexities and challenges of the modern world, Whitman's words serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration, guiding us towards a brighter and more just future.
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