"Good taste is the death of art." Truman Capote

"Good taste is the death of art."  Truman Capote
Check in at The Cirrhosis Motel with your host, freelance literary loiterer and epicure, Dennis McBride

photo by John Hogl

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hating Walt Whitman

“the only modern poet not to experience discord when he encountered the world.”
(overheard at a literary cocktail party.)

Article in the paper says, ‘Little league manager hangs self’
He had written to his wife that,
‘It wasn’t over my jealousy of Gehrig or Stengel, or Ruth.
It was that son of a bitch, Walt Whitman.
It doesn’t have to be explained, and if it has to be it can’t be.’

on page 3
‘Man found dead in empty lot.’
A note in his jacket pocket read,
‘Dearest Jim, I will never take my love away from you.
--P.S. I want you to come in my mouth.’ Love, Debbie.
Next of kin said he had been despondent since a woman had
left him for a celebrated scholar of Walt Whitman.

on page 8,
‘Woman jumps to death from fairgrounds Ferris wheel.’
Friends said she was an un-recovered alcoholic and had been
depressed after reading a biography of Walt Whitman.
The couple in the chair behind her said
‘she just kept rocking back and forth repeating
‘Lincoln, lilacs, and liquor’ over and over
and muttering something about ‘Dooryard’ and ‘Bloomed’ and ‘a blooming idiot’
and then she just jumped.’

In the obituaries it was noted that
‘Reginald Waters, famous local author of romance novels
died Monday of what was an apparent heart attack.’
He was found slumped over the unfinished transcript of
his latest novel in progress, ‘Rape, A Romance.’
He had evidently been working on the dedication page
which read, ‘to that god damn spiritual adept, Walt Whitman,
may he rest in anything but peace.’ His publisher declined comment.

An article in the celebrity section reported ‘Valuable manuscript found.’
“A diary of the late Dorothy Parker discovered by relatives.
opened in character with, “its easy to know fairly young
that you wouldn’t want to be stuck in an elevator with
T. S. Eliot but it takes a lifetime to hate Walt Whitman.”

(For Spaulding Gray, Dick Sanders, Verlena Orr, Pat Thomas, Kurt Vonnegurt)


Frank Sauce said...

I used to hate Walt Whitman, but not for the same reasons.

It was my man-hating period, when even american poets who were male were hated by me.

Sometimes when I read Walt Whitman and I'm jealous and other times I feel glad that I'm not Walt Whitman, because he's dead. Of course, his poetry isn't dead and I can still get pangs of jealousy when I read his work, but mostly it's just love and admiration and awe and wonder and more love.

Thanks, Dennis.

Frank Sauce

Rochelle Cashdan said...

Wonderful quote or pseudo quote at the end but I have to say I was exhilarated when my high school English teacher told us his two favorite poets, didn"t matter who they were (walt & emily).