Thought of the Day: Walt Whitman

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” —Walt Whitman, queer icon and poet, on how to live life.

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  • seitan-on-a-stick

    Walt Whitman is not only a gay icon but an American Patriot. What an exemplary quote way ahead of his time.

  • Julian

    Walt Whitman then, now and forever.

  • Kid A

    Reading “Song of Myself” was relevatory. I never knew that someone could speak so universally, so directly, so honestly.

  • Neil

    Whitman was not gay, he was likely bi-sexual. He clearly said he was not gay and if someone takes that understanding from his work they’ve missed the whole point. Even while he was the most explicit poet/writer in his time and brazenly didn’t care what people thought of his value system…there is no evidence that he had sex with anyone, male or female. In his lifetime he was controversial mostly because of his heterosexual poems, the same poems that Emerson asked him not to publish. Calumus, his homoerotic poems…no one had an issue with and philosophically it had more to do with brotherhood, not loverhood. We can imply things from his poetry and diaries but there is no evidence of his personal sexual activity.

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