Yawp Chair

My second poet chair is complete. The first one was Emily Dickinson, with emphasis on her poem “Hope is the thing with feathers.”  This one is Walt Whitman’s,  I decided to use verse 32 of Song of Myself for this one. In this verse, Whitman explains why he would often rather live with animals than with humans. It reads, in part: Continue reading “Yawp Chair”


Barbaric Yawp

A teacher friend of mine loves Walt Whitman’s work just like I do. She and her students regularly sound their “barbaric yawp” around the classroom and hallways. Unfortunately, as is the case in many schools, the administration does not appreciate nor understand poetic expression. She recently received this email from her principal: Continue reading “Barbaric Yawp”


Unscrew the locks!

Somewhere in the middle of his vast, joyous, brutal, democratic, and American poem, Walt Whitman said:

Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!

Whoever degrades another degrades me;
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.

We are all here together for a time on this planet, and our lives affect each other. Facebook is the ubiquitous  example of that. What we say, what we do, what we post, how we respond, how we don’t respond: these all illustrate our inescapably interwoven lives.

Old Walt’s poetry was a song for the removal of barriers between people, no matter how different, evil, good, hopeless, or rotten. He believed in the essential goodness of humans, yet was not surprised when he didn’t always find it.

To be in love with the world and unsurprised by its brutality at the same time . . . that is my wish for us all. Unscrew the locks from your doors and your hearts and see what happens.