“I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing” is a short lyric poem comprised of thirteenager lines of cost-free verse (verse created in no traditional meter). The speaker of the poem may be determined via the poet or at leastern through “Walt Whitman,” as the reader pertains to understand him in Leaves of Grass, the book in which this poem appears. The poem starts with a memory: The poet remembers the live oak tree he observed standing by itself in Louisiana, whose “rude” and “lusty” look reminded the poet of himself. In one vital respect, yet, the tree was exceptionally various from the poet, for the tree was “uttering joyous leaves” also though it stood without an additional of its kind (a “companion”) surrounding, and also this is something that the poet kbrand-new he can never perform. That the tree remained in Louisiana may have some autobiographical significance: Whitman, who lived the majority of of his life in New York and also New Jersey, spent some time in Louisiana. In any case, the live oak flourishes in Louisiana, and the geographical recommendation grounds the poem in reality. The poet is speaking of a actual tree he actually saw fairly than of an allegory for his feelings.

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In speaking of the tree as “uttering” its leaves, Whitguy provides a word that is perfectly appropriate on a literal level. In this conmessage, “utter” can simply suppose to “put forth” or “sprout.” However before, given that the word is even more commonly provided to explain huguy speech and also considering that Whitman habitually refers to his poems as “leaves” (as in the title Leaves of Grass), the word means even more. The tree that “uttersleaves” is a photo not only of the male yet also of the poet. The poet tells the reader that he broke a twig from the tree and that he now keeps the twig, with a little moss tied about it, in his room, where it continues to be a curious token. Its purpose is not to remind him of his friends because, he reveals, he thinks of bit else. Rather, it represents manly love or the love of guy for man. Yet the phrase is ambiguous. A reader might take “manly love” to mean the love a male might feel for a womale. Whitman most likely embraced, also intended, the ambiguity.

The poem’s last lines go back to the template of the opening. In this restatement, the live oak’s isolation is still even more strongly emphasized: “solitary/ in a broad flat room.” The expression “friends and lovers,” uniting 2 forms of human partnership in one grammatical unit, shows up for the first time. In addition, the poet is aget in awe at the memory of the tree “uttering joyous leaves” in its isolation. The poet’s response is reaffirmed in the last line of the poem: “I know very well I could not.” For the poet, then, it is in the visibility of companions, friends, and lovers that he finds the catalyst to utter his leaves; for the guy, to be isolated from those he loves would reason him pain past his powers of expression.


Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by steustatiushistory.org Editorial. Word Count: 343

Whitmale was a pioneer in the advancement of cost-free verse, however, as any type of proficient reader knows, successful totally free verse is never before really free. Free of meter (the constant circulation of stresses across a line that overcame English verse from the Renaissance to Whitman’s time and beyond), totally free verse must uncover its own principles of rhythm. A variety of attributes add to the overall rhythm of Whitman’s verse. Two of these are line size and also syntaxation. Using the syllable as the unit of measurement, the reader deserve to uncover in the poem a rhythm of growth and contraction. The initially line is shorter than any kind of other line except for the last. The longest lines, the fifth and also sixth, are adhered to by three reasonably brief lines of fifteen syllables each. Line 10 expands to twenty syllables, line 11 to twenty-5. Line 12 contracts to seventeen syllables, resulting in the eight syllables of the eloquently concise last line.

Syntaxation additionally contributes to rhythm. Each line is qualified of standing alone as at leastern a complete sentence, and line 11 could be written as two sentences. Yet only line 11 ends through a complete stop of any kind, and the first duration shows up just at the end of the poem. The result is a rhythmically considerable stress between sense and sound as the punctuation forbids the significant pause at the end of the line that the feeling would seem to speak to for. Syntactical subtleties likewise develop impacts past the rhythmic. An air of straightforward simplicity is suggested by the recurring usage of the easy past tense in the at an early stage lines of the poem. Yet the subjects of these verbs change from “it,” a pronoun whose antecedent is “live-oak,” with “moss” and also “its look” to “I,” defining the development of the poet’s believed. Furthermore, while the last lines restate the design template of the opening, what had been in the past (“stood”) is now in the existing (“glistens”). An experience of the past transcends tempdental categories to live in the current of the poet’s, and the reader’s, creativity.


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Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by steustatiushistory.org Editorial. Word Count: 168


Allen, Gay Wilson. A Reader’s Guide to Walt Whitmale.

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New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970.

Allen, Gay Wilson. The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman. Rev. ed. New York: New York College Press, 1967.

Asselineau, Roger. The Evolution of Walt Whitman. Expanded ed. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1999.

Gold, Arthur, comp. Walt Whitman: A Collection of Criticism. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974.

Greenspan, Ezra, ed. Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: A Sourcebook and also Critical Edition. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Kaarrangement, Justin. Walt Whitman: A Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980.

Miller, James E., Jr. Walt Whitman. Rev. ed. Boston: Twayne, 1990.

Pearce, Roy Harvey, ed. Whitman: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englehardwood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962.

Reynolds, David S., ed. Walt Whitman. New York: Oxford College Press, 2005.

Sowder, Michael. Whitman’s Ecstatic Union: Conversion and Ideology in “Leaves of Grass.” New York: Routledge, 2005.

Woodress, James, ed. Critical Esclaims on Walt Whitman. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1983.

Zweig, Paul. Walt Whitman: The Making of a Poet. New York: Basic Books, 1984.


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