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Walt Whitman
Posted by: Debbie (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: July 18, 2003 11:21PM

need help analyzing "a noiseless spider"


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: July 19, 2003 03:08AM

He's comparing his soul to the spider's web. Do you have a specific question about the poem?

A Noiseless Patient Spider
by Walt Whitman


A NOISELESS, patient spider,
I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them--ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,--seeking the spheres, to
connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form'd--till the ductile anchor
hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

Les


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Debbie (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: July 20, 2003 05:52PM

I have to do a presentation on Walt Whitman. I need to choose a poem and paraphrase it. But I'm not good at understanding the meanings. Can you suggest a good poem from Walt.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-02rh15rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: July 20, 2003 06:35PM


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: July 20, 2003 06:46PM

Surely that can't be by Whitman, it doesn't have a catalogue in it. :-( or do I mean :-) I don't get on with his style I'm afraid. Was he religeous? an obvious thought on this one is the angels rejoicing at a soul reaching heaven, while his son mourns on earth. Justa suggestion off the top of my head as I've never studied his works.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: July 21, 2003 08:46PM

O Captain is referring to the death of Lincoln.

pam


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15rt-az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: July 21, 2003 11:57PM


I think Linda meant the spider, but the catalogue whooshed over me.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Talia (---.plymouth.in.hypervine.net)
Date: July 22, 2003 10:44AM

When paraphrasing a poem, don't be afraid to take it all literally, whether that is the poem's intention or not does not matter, but you can start that way, then go a little deeper with each understanding you grasp. My husband is always afraid to take a poem literally because he is so sure that a poem is never intended to be literal, but always symbolic, etc.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: July 22, 2003 02:36PM

No, I did mean O Captain. As for the catalogues, its how I think of his works, just read section 15 of Song of Myself, the part that starts:-
The pure contralto sings in the organ loft,
The carpenter ..... and so on for nearly 3 pages.
If thats not a catalogue, what is it?


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: -Les- (---.trlck.ca.charter.com)
Date: July 22, 2003 02:45PM

Linda, go to the Classical Poet List of this website. Go to Whitman and read some of his other work. I think you'll find that this cataloging is the exception, rather than the rule.

Les


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: July 22, 2003 03:03PM


Great poem (spider), regardless. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Debbie.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Linda (---.cache.pol.co.uk)
Date: July 22, 2003 05:15PM

I'd only read the Dover Thrift Edition of his selected poems and the overwhelming impression from that was the cataloguing. I will give him another go, I'll let you know how I get on with him.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Talia (---.plymouth.in.hypervine.net)
Date: July 22, 2003 06:26PM

Speaking of Dover Thrift Editions, arn't they great? I have managed to accumulate quite a nice little library because of them.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Debbie (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: July 23, 2003 09:49PM

Marian. I'm glad you liked the poem. Can you give me your impression of it?


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: July 24, 2003 04:20PM

Okay, Debbie. My impression(s) of the spider poem:

1. Blessedly short -- doesn't go on any longer than it has to.

2. Nice example of what it's describing (meta-poem?) - the speaker's sense of "my soul" being like the spider is an EXAMPLE of the kind of "catching somewhere."

3. Goes nicely on my bulletin board next to "Design" by Robert Frost.

4. Nice use of INGs (speeding, unreeling, musing, venturing, throwing, seeking). The cumulative effect of the INGs is the message that BEING MEANS DOING, even in the realm of spirituality. You don't wait for it, you have to go for it.

5. Nice contract between "gossamer thread" and "anchor" ... "isolated" and "connect."


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-04rh16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: July 24, 2003 06:16PM


Blessedly short

Right on, and Whitman just cannot resist repetition any any poem, no matter how brief. Filament, filament, filament; surrounded, surrounded; till, till till.


Re: Walt Whitman
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: July 25, 2003 02:47PM

True, true, true.




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