Commentary

Selected Criticism

Title:
Everson, William (Brother Antoninus) (1912–1994)
Author:
Britton, Wesley A.
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

Primarily influenced by Robinson Jeffers, poet and printer Everson's career is divided into three parts collected in the ongoing trilogy The Crooked Lines of God. The first volume is The Residual Years (1944), and the second, The Veritable Years (1978), is drawn from his period as Dominican Order Brother Antoninus, his pen name between 1949 and 1966.

Throughout his collection of philosophic essays, Birth of a Poet (1982), Everson sees Whitman as an American archetype who first expressed the "New Adam" (102) and lived the role of this archetype in a public life. Whitman "expressed . . . both the populous and the natural wonder" (103) of an American romanticism of "imprecise Homeric" (105) expansiveness. In Whitman, "art is a song of spontaneity and joy, luxuriating in the ambience of the goodness of being" (108).

In 1981, Everson's printing house, Lime Kiln Press, published Everson's setting of the Preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass as a poem, American Bard, a publication celebrated in a film of the same name.

Bibliography

Cherkovski, Neeli. Whitman's Wild Children. Venice: Lapis, 1988.

Everson, William. Birth of a Poet: The Santa Cruz Meditations. Ed. Lee Bartlett. Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow, 1982.


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