A Greener Whitman
Padlock IconThis article is only a portion of the full article. If you are already a premium subscriber please login. If you are not a premium subscriber, please subscribe for access to all of our content.

Published in: November-December 2005 issue.



Whitman and the EarthWalt Whitman and the Earth
by M. Jimmie Killingsworth
University of Iowa Press. 225 pages, $39.95


THIS BOOK had to happen at some point. Someone had to embrace Whitman as an environmentalist, and thus we have Killingsworth’s Walt Whitman and the Earth, demonstrating yet again that Whitman is larger than himself, extending beyond 19th-century America to embrace the ages. Over the past half-century, gay rights enthusiasts have worked aggressively to assimilate the good gray poet, who became the good “gay” poet on the basis of some striking lines scattered throughout his work and one large deliciously homoerotic segment: the “Calamus” poems. No need to waste one’s breath explaining to them that Whitman’s “Children of Adam” is as heteroerotic as “Calamus” is homo-: they’re convinced that Whitman spent his waking hours prowling the streets of Washington and Camden in search of day laborers for a roll in the hay. They endorse the romantic side of his liaison with Peter Doyle but dismiss as a smokescreen his own assertion that he fathered children.

To continue reading this article, please LOGIN or SUBSCRIBE


Read More from George Klawitter