Monday, January 29, 2007

Uncle Walt

Although Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are often paired together as "New" American poets--they were writing roughly around the same time, and they both broke away from the traditional meter embraced by the Romantics--they varied dramatically from each other in terms of personal and poetic style.

Think back to Emily Dickinson's photograph and her poetry for a moment. Then, click on the following link to browse pictures of Walt Whitman and to read his commentary on his own pictures: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/s_z/whitman/photos.htm

What can you infer about Walt Whitman from these pictures and captions? What questions do you have about him? How does he differ from Ms. Dickinson?

32 Comments:

Blogger TylerM4 said...

I believe that Walt Whitman loved to be alive. Although people told him his face was angry or had lost its love he did not listen to them and said that this is happy face and that he is happy for the world. This differs from Emily Dickinson because Emily secluded herself from society by locking herself in her house. She was not able to love life like Whitman did because she never experienced it. I find it hard to read a poet that did not mingle with society and then writes poems about their problems. Whitman on the other hand loved life and the experience of being alive. I would have to ask Mr. Whitman if he liked any photographs taken of him?

4:40 PM  
Blogger TylerM4 said...

also congrats to me for being #1
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4:42 PM  
Blogger Lizzie A said...

Tyler, you are number two also! I think that Walt looks like someone who would be fun to go out and have a cup of coffee with. Even if he didn't like or drink coffee. He seems to always want to contradict what anyone says anything about his photographs, and what they said about him, I just wonder what he sees in the photos that we are overlooking. I agree with Tyler about the difference between Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, such as her lack of vigor and his overflow of it. He didn't always show it in his photos, but he really seemed to have a lot of spirit.

4:49 PM  
Blogger JBeckmann1 said...

I agree with Tyler in his statement "Walt Whitman loved to be alive." He seemed to be a very happy person even though in some cases it didn't look like it. Emily Dickinson excluded herself from the world and from society and never really got to experience the true meaning of living.

5:22 PM  
Blogger CecilyJ said...

I think that Walt Whitman was a very popular person. He looks like the type of man who was very well off, and very popular with the ladies. I agree with the other posts that he was happy to be alive. He seems like he would fear death, where as Emily Dickinson was infatuated with it. I would like to know where Mr. Whitman lived and where he was from, because some of his pictures are very rustic, whereas some are extremely formal. He has a kind, welcoming face unlike Ms. Dickinson’s cold stone appearance. He seems like a much more social person.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Michael M. said...

I see Walt Whitman as a shy and quiet guy. From the pictures he looks like he doesn’t care for what others think, and also looks intelligent but doesn’t let people know it. I’m afraid that he was lonely in his later years and from the pictures I would guess he had no wife. Now, I do think the ladies were warm for his form, but he doesn’t look like he would marry. Emily Dickinson was very recluse which I don’t think was the same for Whitman. Even though he was quiet and shy, I do believe he had more of a social life.

And, I have to add, that I agree he does look very “flamboyant” in the 2nd picture. It just made me laugh.

5:53 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

Walt Whitman seemed to be a happy person who loved life. By his pictures he seems to be layed back and has fun. He looks silly and I think that is what his personality is like. Compared to Emily Dickinson, he is much more outgoing and more involved with society. Emily secluded herself from the world. I don't understand how she could write when she was so seperated. Whitman didn't seperate himself so he could write about his experiences. Emily must have had a great imagination to come up with what she wrote about while being alone. Whitman's pictures show a lot of character and personality.

7:44 PM  
Blogger karlak said...

I think that Walt Whitman was way more involved in the world than Emily Dickinson. He seemed to me to be like a guy who loved to be the center of attention and wasn't afraid to share his opinion. He also wore all kinds of different outfits that were lose and he had a sort of rugged look. Emily Dickinson on the other hand secluded herself from society and she seems more conservative than Walt Whitman. It seems like Walt Whitman lived life to the fullest and had the attitude of carpe diem.

10:27 AM  
Blogger amberh said...

My first impression of Walt Whitman was Santa Clause. Once I read some of the captions under his picture, he seemed to be a tough love person. Whitman looks very wise and not afraid to tell the truth even when it hurts. Is he well liked among his family and strangers? Is he as obsessed with death like Ms. Dickinson? Does he have some other Obsession? Whitman seems to be more outgoing and friendly compared to Dickinson. Whitman also seems to be well liked, where as Dickinson was thought of as strange.

10:32 AM  
Blogger emily k said...

Walt Whitman seemed to have a decent head on his shoulders; where as Emily Dickinson seemed to be disturbed in her photos. Whitman did not need to be alone to create masterpieces where as Emily excluded herself from the world and created isolation.
Walt Whitman seems approachable and open to listening. He appears fun and full of energy. He has many opinions as seen through his captions on the photos. His poems must be full of imagery and insight. How was Walt as a person actually? Did his pictures disguise what he was really like?

12:47 PM  
Blogger shadeh said...

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3:12 PM  
Blogger umbertok said...

Walt Whitman seems to be the type of person who is out going and likes to know what people think of him. He reacts in his own ways to their thoughts and comments. Emily Dickinson is a total recluse who loves to write about death and ponder the ways of the nature world.

3:14 PM  
Blogger umbertok said...

Hey, Tyler.
Here is some food for thought.
"So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last."

Mark 20:16

3:22 PM  
Blogger umbertok said...

P.S. More Food
"Then he sat down the Twelve, and said to them, 'If anyone wishs to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all."

Mark 9:35

3:24 PM  
Blogger MollyR said...

Walt Whitman seems very different from Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson does not have a very positive outlook on the world. It is almost as if she wants people to feel sorry for her. The impression that I got from the pictures is that Walt Whitman is a very happy, charismatic person. He said, "Somebody used to say I sometimes wore the face of a man who was sorry for the world. Is this my sorry face? I am not sorry-I am glad-for the world." In one of his pictures he looked a little sad, but he said that he didn't want people to think he was sad. The caption said, "He also worried about the portrait because 'Many people think the dominant quality in Harrison's picture is its sadness.'" Whitman seems like a joyful person, but is his poetry happy too? What are most of his poems about?

4:06 PM  
Blogger shadeh said...

Based on the pictures and captions Walt Whitman and Emilie Dickinson seem to have a lot in common. Emilie Dickinson had a great a love, whom after he died, she felt very lonely. With Whitman, it honestly seems that time didn't treat him well either. He got old pretty fast, and changed alot from his young days. Whitman's pictures show a lonely and very secluded person. He doesn't seem very socially involved, and looks like the kind of person who like time alone. He is different from Dickinson maybe in the sense of his love life. Which makes me wonder if he ever had any great loves to influence his work like Dickinson had!

4:20 PM  
Blogger Brittany F said...

Through these photographs of Walt Whitman, I feel as if he had a hint of Debbie Downer about him, but not near as much as Emily Dickinson. In some of the photos he looks genuinely content to be alive, while in others he looks depressed, gloomy, and lonely very similar to that of Dickinson. Unlike Dickinson, he states in many pictures that he looks frail and sad when that was the exact opposite of what he truly felt. I feel as if he had split personalities. One side of him seems fun and adventurous while the other half appears serious and unwilling to try new things. I also feel as if there is something he is trying to hide from the general public about his personal life. Whitman differs from Dickinson because he is not nearly as dark as she is and he seems much more excited about life and openly happy about everything.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Jordan L said...

Walt Whitman looks like a man that worked hard for his living. He has sort of a rough edge to him but something about him shines kindness and love. As the captions said underneith each picture, people believed that his pictures were almost boring, rough and no life to them but he says that he was full of life and happy of the world. I think he does look happy too. His pictures show him as if he were almost making you try and guess if he were happy, as if he were holding a secret. He doesn't have to put a smile on or a happy face to be content and loving. He differs from Emily Dickinson because she was more cold. She too did not smile in her picture, however there was something in her pictures that just screamed, " I'm not happy!!!!" Walt Whitman's picture doesn't smile but you can still tell he is loving life and is happy. I like Walt Whitman :)

4:34 PM  
Blogger AdamB said...

Walt Whitman wasn't a man of pictures. He never smiled, yet he loved life. People would see pictures of him and ponder the question of where all of his happiness has gone. Compared to Emily Dickinson, he is a very photographed person. The only picture of Emily is the picture taken when she was only 17. Whitman never hid his face from anyone. If he was a man that loved life and was "glad for the world", then how come he never smiled. His face appeared of sorrow and his personality with joy. How come after all the photographs of him he never liked them but never thought of improving them and adding a bit of happiness? Emily Dickinson lived in her house hiding her face from the world. Whitman on the other hand was a average man with his face projected in papers.

7:49 PM  
Blogger ChanningA said...

Walt Witman seems to be completly opposite of Emily Dickinson. By looking at Witman's photos, it looks to me as if he is a great guy who enjoys life, and friends. In all of his photos, he is in very different positions, very odd from Emily's one and only photo. Emily had no friends while in his comentary about his photos, Whitman talks about his many friends and what they think about his photos as well. Witman seems to be a man who loves his life and who loves poetry, he is completly different from Emily Dickinson, a complete opposite.

7:49 PM  
Blogger AdamB said...

Walt Whitman wasn't a man of pictures. He never smiled, yet he loved life. People would see pictures of him and ponder the question of where all of his happiness has gone. Compared to Emily Dickinson, he is a very photographed person. The only picture of Emily is the picture taken when she was only 17. Whitman never hid his face from anyone. If he was a man that loved life and was "glad for the world", then how come he never smiled. His face appeared of sorrow and his personality with joy. How come after all the photographs of him he never liked them but never thought of improving them and adding a bit of happiness? Emily Dickinson lived in her house hiding her face from the world. Whitman on the other hand was a average man with his face projected in papers.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Walt Whitman is a very at peace, relaxed and I think a courteous guy. Although people may think differently of his facial qualities and expressions, i do believe that Walt Whitman did appreciate life more then others. What I would like to know more about his life, to see if any happenings could have affected the way he was writing. I think that Walt Whitman had many similar qualities but also many different ones at the same time. The both apreciate life I think. Although Emily Dickinson sees the evil and cruality in people while Walt Whitman sees the bad but also the good too. Emily Dickinson did not seem to happy in her pictures, she was stiff-shouldered, and had a "get away from me" look on her face. Walt Whitman looked very relaxed and opened to others. He also looks very intellectual in his photographs, exept the one where he looks like a countryboy.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Scott A said...

I think that Whitman was a quiet thoughtful man who loved life and everyone in it. His thoughtfulness could be percieved as angry or sad. Whitman said, "I am not sorry, I am glad, for the world." I think that this quote proves how Whitman was thankful for everyday that he lived, even though his photographs might not show it. Ms. Dickinson isolated herself from everyone else in the world, while Whitman did not.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Hadley B. said...

Walt Whitman seemed to be a very interesting person. He seemed to have a great outlook on life. I loved his comment on one of his pictures about how he looks flamboyant. He seems serious with his comment but at the same time it is humorous. I agree with the many people that have said he loved life. I think he made the best of his life. Dickinson differed from him because she was never a social butterfly like he came off to be. She kept more to herself rather than interacting with other people.

8:41 PM  
Blogger JasonW1 said...

If it wasn’t for the comments about the photo’s make by Walt, I would say that Emily and Walt look like they have the same sad lives. The comments made about the photos by Walt makes me believe that he was a very happy fun man, who loved life and loved the world. He talked about his friends and make jokes about his good and bad photos. I believe that he would be a person who would say, “ life is too short, so make the most of it”. Judging Walt by his cover I think would give a lot of people the wrong idea about him because he looks boring and uptight on the outside but the comments show how he is fun and friendly on the inside.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Alyssa W. said...

Looking at Walt Whitman's photographs and reading his commentary on them, I kind of got the impression that he was a simpleton and had sort of a sense of humor about himself and humility towards his reputation. In fact, I completely disagree with the similarity between him and Emily Dickinson. They have two totally separate personalities. Dickinson was desolate and morbid while Whitman appears to be animated and comical towards himself and on his whole outlook on life. I want to know what sort of things he wrote about and more about his personal life. Did he have lots of friends and family? Why do people see a connection between Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman?

10:08 PM  
Blogger Alyssa W. said...

P.S. Michael~ Um "The ladies were warm for his form"??? It should be, “The ladies accede his breed." That was funny!

10:23 PM  
Blogger JLeadem1 said...

The main quality I could infer in looking at Walt Whitman’s photos is that he is a light hearted fellow. For he can actually see his flaws for what they are and laugh at them, for he sees them as just as important as his admirable qualities and just as vital in shaping the man that he was then. I like the way he looks at these photos for he doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’s not egotistical either in that he actually brings attention to flaws that some wouldn’t even notice on their own. As for how he compares to Emily Dickinson, lets just say I find him less intimidating and dark, for Dickinson seems to be very serious and moody in how she regards herself, as to where Whitman looks back on those photos almost as if he is playing a game with his memories. In one of those photos he is described to look as if he has regret for this world, to which he replied, “I’m not sorry, I’m glad for this world, and it is in that phrase alone that I find both Dickinson and Whitman in two different ball parks. A question that I would actually like to ask Whitman is how he views the direction we are going towards the future, and not just as a nation, but rather as a people.

4:35 AM  
Blogger JohnM said...

Sorry my response is so late. Whitman did seem like the center of attention, and outgoing, and he may have seemed to live a very livley life. But his pictures did failed to show any love, and love is such a huge part of life. Love does get caked with cliches, but there is no doubt to its presence in life. I agree with Michael that he never really got married. And i also agree with Kevin that both of them did experience life even though Dickinson seems less inviting.

5:35 PM  
Blogger abmunguia said...

I think that Walt Whitman had a different outlook on life, he didn't care what people said or how they felt towards him. He just seems very laid back and as if he would be a happy person.

3:18 PM  
Blogger jrody said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:17 AM  
Blogger lukes said...

He is like a unkempt mountain man who is one with nature. His style is its my life if you dont like it then thats your problem. He differs from Dickenson because he is very mysterioius and unknown. Not plain at all. His beard gives him an old mature look which in a way commands respect.

2:00 PM  

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