“I see Christ once more eating the bread of his last supper, in the midst of youths and old persons, ”
— Walt Whitman, “Salut au Monde!,” Leaves of Grass (1856 edition)
How — by what miracle of human inspiration and creativity — does the self-educated poet Walt Whitman make the old and familiar seem fresh and new, as if we were encountering and hearing about it anew, or perhaps for the first time?
(Hint: It’s because he created everything anew, relying on no preexisting models or poetic tropes.)
Such simplicity and, therefore, freshness.
— Roger W. Smith