The Original American Memoirist? Walt Whitman!

What could be a better, and more honest, title for a memoir than Song of Myself? I had not thought of Whitman as the originator of American memoir (usually slave narratives and captivity narratives are given credit for this honor), but I think I could make a case for Leaves of Grass, and especially “Song of Myself.” What do you think?

Be sure to listen to this interview between one of our best living poets, Robert Hass, and radio personality Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air.”  Hass and Gross loaf together and invite their souls and celebrate a new book of Whitman poetry called Song of Myself, with an introduction by Hass. You can also listen to Ed Begley read passages from “Song of Myself” here.

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About Shirley Hershey Showalter

Author of memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Blogging about Magical Memoir Moments and Jubilación -- vocation in the second half of life.
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