I recently got another copy of the book “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman. This one had a thorough description of the history around the book. It is interesting to see that Whitman continued to edit the poems contained in the book throughout his lifetime.
Here is a little about that from my friends at Wikipedia:
Leaves of Grass is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Though the first edition was published in 1855, Whitman spent his entire life writing and re-writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death. This resulted in vastly different editions over four decades—the first a small book of twelve poems and the last a compilation of over 400 poems.
The poems of Leaves of Grass are loosely connected and each represents Whitman’s celebration of his philosophy of life and humanity. This book is notable for its discussion of delight in sensual pleasures during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral.
I must admit that I struggle with poetry, especially those that don’t rhyme. 🙂
The point of this post is not so much to discuss the poetry but the process. I, like Whitman, am a tinkerer of my words and thoughts. Sometimes when reviewing past posts I come across something that I believe “must” be changed. Maybe a particular word I chose when the post was published just doesn’t seem right now. Maybe an additional sentence is added.
I do the initial write of most of my posts at least a week before they are published. Changes are usually made right up to the date of release. I guess maybe I am a compulsive when it comes to my words. But I imagine all of us are compulsive in one matter or another. Some need to disagree with everything that didn’t come from them. The “Not invented here” syndrome is along those lines. Some are compulsive about their beliefs of God. Many are convinced that they are the only ones to truly know the heart of God so therefore all religions but theirs are just plain wrong. Some others have to have the order of things a very particular way. If it is not they HAVE to change it. I guess when it comes to compulsive things needing just the right words is not a bad one to have. At least it doesn’t hurt other people.
In the coming weeks I will be working my way through the book “The Leaves of Grass”. I don’t know which addition I have but that doesn’t really matter to me. I have a highly commentated version to help me interpret the meaning of Whitman’s words. I hope to gain some insight into this very popular author from more than a century ago.