Special preview note:
I have to say these reviews confuse me because I see nothing about Stephen Mitchell in the book I hold in my hands. I don't know where the reference comes from at all, so I am going to write as if I don't know what the reviewers are using as a reference to Mitchell... and now I see, those reviewers were reading an entirely different version of the book - so if you are interested in the Dover edition, my review stands. If you are looking at the Shambala edition, what I say still stands, for the most part... except I haven't read the Mitchell edits and now I understand some of the disdain! And it makes me VERY curious, would like to read both versions side-by-side.)
From the preface: This dover edition, first published in 2001, is a unabridged republication from the first 1855 edition of "Leaves of Grass."
I sat here, today, re-reading some of the sections I had highlighted from my first read of this epic-length-poem. I wondered, "What would the world be like if each of us took the time to write a 'Song of Myself' according to our own witness of the world we live within?
Walt Whitman does exactly that in this poem - he doesn't seek to be understood, he doesn't seek to please the reader, he is simply being present to his world and then capture his meandering path into words and serve it onto the page.
Then it is up to us, as the readers, to take our spoon-fuls of Whitman and savor each one.
There is much to be learned, experienced, enjoyed, discovered in these words within this very slim volume. Savor each one and consider writing your own song.
Now I am off to begin mine.