Sunday, September 25, 2011

Banned Book Week: Review Repost of Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grassby Walt Whitman

The paper burns, but the words fly away.  ~Akiba ben Joseph

Walt Whitman issued numerous invitations to me over the years of my reading. Quotations from his Leaves of Grass popped up when I was reading about writing, about creativity, about the environment, about democracy. There they were in books about psychology, about spirituality. When I read about the wonders of nature, his voice joined the chorus. On American history and civics, he had many things to say. In books discussing great love poetry his lines did not blush to snuggle up to Elizabeth Barret Browning’s, Lord Byron’s, nor even Shakespeare’s.

I put Whitman on my mental need-to-read-someday list. And there he stayed for years. Until the spring of 97 when he was mentioned or quoted in over a half dozen different sources I encountered in one weeks time, including a TV documentary and someone’s web page I surfed onto. I had recently been reading about synchronicity so this cluster of encounters took me by the shoulders and gave me a shake, saying isn’t it past time you laid your eyes on this horse’s own mouth?   Read more...

[For these BBW review reposts this week I'm posting only excerpts with a 'read more' link to the original post.  This partly to keep any possible discussion in one place but partly because my reviews tend to ramble long, go on tangents and focus more on my relationship to the book than the book it self.]

One of the things this book has been challenged or banned for was obscenity.  A very difficult to define word is obscenity but one knows it when one sees it.  So they say.  But what one man sees as obscenity another might see as epiphany.

Obscenity is not a quality inherent in a book or picture, but is solely and exclusively a contribution of the reading mind, and hence cannot be defined in terms of the qualities of a book or picture.  ~Theodore Schroeder
BTW the caption above is linked to a wonderful HTML copy of Leaves of Grass courtesy of


Here are a few bookish events going on for BBW:

Hosted by Bookjourney

Get on the BANNED WAGON!

Giveaways, a scavenger hunt and links to participating blog's BBW reviews are some of what's happening at Sheila's BookJourney this week.  Along with her own reviews of banned or challenged books and of course her daily Morning Meanerings post.

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

Banned Books Week Hop

Giveaways galore and lots of participating blog's to visit and comment on.

Banned Book Week Virtual Read Out

Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out

The annual BBW readout traditionally conducted in public at bookstores and libraries where individuals read aloud form a banned book has now gone digital. Now you can video record yourself reading a banned book and upload to a YouTube channel

“Damn all expurgated books; the dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.”—Walt Whitman

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