By Walt Whitman; Jonathan Levin (Editor)
Grade 4 and Up / This collection of 26 poems and excerpts from longer poems is prefaced by a biographical sketch and a description of the time period. Students will be impressed by the poet's daring departure from traditional metered and rhyming poetry. An outstanding introduction to Whitman's life and work.
Levin guides readers into understanding the importance of Whitman's oeuvre. He introduces each selection with pertinent information about its relevance to a larger work, its relationship to Whitman's beliefs, or the symbolism within it. Words that students might find difficult are defined at the bottom of the page. Beginning with the patriotic "I Hear America Singing," the collection includes excerpts from "Song of Myself," "O Captain! My Captain!," poems from Leaves of Grass
, and a variety of other selections that are thought-provoking, descriptive, and full of emotion. Burke's pastel drawings add to the feelings Levin describes, and to the emotional impact of each poem. Several illustrations are historical in nature; others reflect ordinary lives and activities of the times. Still others show Whitman's sense of the miracles and mysticism of life. This superb volume can be used to teach literature or to show a variety of poetic devices and style. Students who have been taught to appreciate poetry will enjoy it on their own. -- Betty Teague, Blythe Academy of Languages, Greenville, SC (Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.)