In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: America needs her own poems

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Early 1860s

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00131

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript probably dates to the early 1860s, as it appears to have been inscribed after the writing on the reverse side of the leaf (duk.00795), which contains draft lines that contributed to poems first published in the 1860–1861 edition of Leaves of Grass.

Related item: On the back of the manuscript are draft lines that contributed both to the poem ultimately titled "Thoughts [Of these years I sing...]" and to "Apostroph," the opening section of "Chants Democratic and Native American." Both poems first appeared in the 1860–1861 edition of Leaves of Grass.

Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Jeannette Schollaert, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney

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America needs her own poems, ^in her own spirit body and spirit, different from all the rest hitherto—freer,, more muscular, than the any hitherto ^comprehending more, and unspeakably grander.—Not the importations, ^or any thing in the spirit of the importations aloof and in These States exiles;—not the superb, chronicles, faultless, and rich, perennial ^ as they are ^and deserve to be in their native lands from ^of the past events and characters of Europe—nothing f not the current products of imaginative persons, with tropes, likenesses, piano music, and smooth rhymes[nor?] of

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