Walt Whitman: Song of Myself


Ubi bene ibi patria

"Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 — March 26, 1892) is widely celebrated as the father of free verse, his 1855 poetry collection Leaves of Grass (public library; public domain) enduring as one of the most influential works in the American literary canon. He wrote in the preface to the 1855 edition, which he self-published in a limited edition of about 800 copies and which included the acclaimed fifty-two-section poem “Song of Myself”:

Indeed, it was “Song of Myself” that best encapsulated the heart of Whitman’s poetic vision and his conviction that the poet and the public are inextricably, symbolically linked. In this exquisite reading from New York’s 92Y, the great James Earl Jones brings his formidable dramatic prowess to sections 6, 7, 17, 18, and 19, breathing explosive new life into Whitman’s timeless verses:"