Whitman, themes repeated

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It’s appropriate to write another Walt Whitman piece this month since May 31 will be the 197th anniversary of his birth. Bruce Noll is a poet, writer, professor, and friend who performs PURE GRASS, a dramatic program he composed using excerpts entirely from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Bruce intertwines many of Whitman’s themes in his performances, such as the life cycle of nature, everyday life, everyday people, and praise of the individual as worthy subjects for poetry. I mention Bruce Noll since he brings Whitman and Whitman’s poetry to life. When I saw Bruce perform PURE GRASS, I fell in love with Whitman’s work.

I’ll include a poem I wrote about “bards of the past” like Ginsberg and Whitman, who never “foresaw generations living (on computer or mobile phone) keyboards.”

Ginsberg Now by Kathryn Lane (Austin International Poetry Festival Anthology-Apr 2014)


Enhanced humans, bionic men and women,  Bob and Kathryn with Walt Whitman

digital consumers, impatient for action,

chasing whims, seeking novelty – mood

changers – a new wave of shoppers, geeks

with brains in overdrive, streaming

internet at lightning speed, fingers

Twittering, Facebooking and Linking-In

to extend networks of one-way para-social

relationships, intimacy at a distance, eviscerating

conversation and personal touch so common

in one-on-one companionship.


Where did the flower child go?  That universal

brotherhood, whose hypnotic trance, exalted

to a pinnacle of love and peace, and others

who altered the establishment, like Ginsberg, who

read Howl to electrified audiences on how he saw

“the best minds of my generation destroyed”

by consumerism. Ginsberg might go beyond

swearing, hallucinating, experimenting with drugs

to stop and confront the new establishment

of men and women seeking fulfillment in an action

world, a techno world where Walt Whitman,


worm-holed in, might search cyberspace to find

the next Testament of America. The bards of the past

never foresaw generations living on keyboards –

the new breed of bionic humans texting, working,

buying, selling, browsing, loving one keystroke

at a time. The long-gone masters of the word might

manifesto against digital consumers who

only see bar codes embedded in their brains.


Comments? Please post them on my Blog.


2 Responses

  1. Eduardo García

    As Walt Whitman said,

    “To have great poets, there must be great audiences”.

    Continue creating (writing) beauty for this world.

  2. Jo Anne Nasti

    Couldn’t agree more, Kathryn Well captured

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