Walt Whitman


“Whitman’s poetry manuscripts have never been systematically collected and edited. Because they are scattered in over two dozen repositories, those interested in the development of Whitman’s poetry through multiple drafts to finished work cannot locate and examine the relevant documents without great expense of time and money. The Walt Whitman Archive is, therefore, using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and Encoded Archival Description (EAD) XML encoding standards to create both an integrated electronic guide to and electronic transcriptions of Whitman’s poetry manuscripts. The Walt Whitman Archive has chosen to define “poetry manuscript” broadly, since it is often hard to determine the boundary between prose and verse in Whitman’s manuscripts—especially in the pre-war years, Whitman habitually migrated his writing from prose to verse. For the purposes of this project, we consider as a poetry manuscript any writing in Whitman’s hand that either is written as verse, contains a key image or language that eventually made its way into a recognized Whitman poem, or discusses the making of a poem.”


Ashes of Roses

The dust & debris below
in all the cemeteries
not only in Virginia &
Tennessee but all through
the land

The names of the flowers.
early lilies
the colors,
purple & white
& red & yellow
& red—

Visit The Whitman Archives

[Thanks to Stephen Shelley]