Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Great Things Come in Small Packages

Lorianne visits the Library of Congress and stumbles upon a Whitman exhibit:
By far the biggest thrill was seeing Whitman's own pen alongside the small, well-worn notebook in which he drafted (and highly edited) several famous lines of what would become "Song of Myself." Although I'd read transcriptions of the original draft of these lines and had seen facsmile versions of the pages, I didn't know Whitman's notebook was so small, just the size of a pocket Moleskine. Imagine how shocked I was to discover such hugely famous lines were originally scribbled in a notebook like the one you and I might carry in our own pocket or purse!
I too cannot imagine such sentient lines such as “I am the poet of the woman the same as the man, / And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man, / And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men.” being held in such a small vessel (see other pages here). I see him in front of some mural-sized canvas brushing his lines with bold colorful strokes. I guess I’ll look in my own back pocket and see if there’s anything there.

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