Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Joaquin Miller to Walt Whitman, 8 March 1890

Date: March 8, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03142

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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Okland Cal.
March 8 .90

My dear dear [illegible].

I was so sorry you did not find your high [plane?] of work fruitful: but the hights are often most barren. The air is good in the [haze?]: all the company select, if not numerous.

And now you are ill! May the gods hold you [illegible] and bring you safe and solid back to the [lone?] big land of Columbus.

I am today sending back proof sheets of my new book "To the Czar."1 I hope to tear his bowels out. Damn him!!

With love to you

Joaquin Miller was the pen name of Cincinnatus Heine Miller (1837–1913), an American poet nicknamed "Byron of the Rockies" and "Poet of the Sierras." In 1871, the Westminster Review described Miller as "leaving out the coarseness which marked Walt Whitman's poetry" (297). In an entry in his journal dated August 1, 1871, the naturalist John Burroughs recorded Whitman's fondness for Miller's poetry; see Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1931), 60. Whitman met Miller for the first time in 1872; he wrote of a visit with Miller in a July 19, 1872, letter to his former publisher and fellow clerk Charles W. Eldridge.


1. Miller published his poem "To the Czar" in the early 1890s, in honor of Sophia Perovskaya (1853–1881), who was executed for helping orchestrate the assassination of Czar Alexander II of Russia. [back]


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