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During the course of the war Whitman visited soldiers in hospitals frequently, writing letters home for them, playing cards, and offering some companionship. Even someone like Dickinson, so famously sequestered, did not avoid the war.Whitman recorded his encounters with soldiers in “Specimen Days,” and there are multitudes of references to the war throughout his body of work, including many very obviously socially and even patriotically motivated words, as in the final stanza of “Beat! Dickinson, master of the interiority of imagination, describes the psyche of a nation as the sum of its divided populations, “Do we deserve — a Thing —/ That lives — like Dollars — must be piled / Before we may obtain?
Tuition varies according to length of the course; Rosenbach members at the Contributor level and above receive a 10% discount on tuition.
Contemporary American poetry was born in the context of the Civil War, the war that claimed more Americans than ever before or since.
But they both shared a common interest in the big questions: life and death, life after death, religion and spirituality, spirituality without religion, the nature of the self and the nature of reality, sex and gender, race and class, power and powerlessness.
They wrote about life in the United States before, during, and after the cataclysm of Civil War, and they wrote about the human condition in ways that have influenced poets, artists, activists, and mystics across the globe.
When he received news that his younger brother was injured in battle in Fredricksburg, Virginia, he left home to find him. One of Dickinson’s more well-known poems about the war opens: “lt feels a shame to be Alive —/ When Men so brave — are dead —” drawing a question clearly around the value of life and death in war.
He found his brother safe and healthy, only superficially wounded, but after seeing the hospitals that tended to soldiers Whitman was compelled to stay and volunteer. Dickinson’s brother paid five hundred dollars to have someone enlist as a substitute, her father was a known abolitionist, and she referenced the war in many of her letters.Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are universally regarded by scholars and readers alike as the greatest poets of the nineteenth-century United States.Their lives spanned roughly the same period — Dickinson lived from 1830-86, Whitman from 1819-92 — but they never met or read one another’s poetry.” When Dickinson’s poems contain a response to the war, there’s less patriotism and more moral conflict.In her humanistic way, Dickinson wonders what virtues, after all of this death, are still virtues?In this course we will read the essential poems from the Whitman and Dickinson canons in modern editions of their work, while also exploring online archives that reproduce their poems as they originally appeared.(Bring a laptop or tablet to every class to get the full benefit of these excellent online archives.) We will contextualize these poems in their cultural and biographical contexts, while also experiencing them as aesthetic objects in their own right.There was no system in place to identify the dead: there were no dog tags.Undertakers followed the troops, and while officers were often sent home in caskets, soldiers who lost their lives were interred beneath hasty markings in makeshift cemeteries near to where they fell.Her poems have appeared in Pleiades, Narrative Magazine, Sycamore Review, and other publications in print and online.Bianca was awarded a full tuition scholarship to attend a 2016 summer workshop at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.