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Whitman's Future-Founding Poetry

In his preface to the 1876 edition of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman offers a programmatic statement for his entire poetic project: "Finally, as I have lived in fresh lands, inchoate, and in a revolutionary age, future-founding, I have felt to identify the points of that age, these lands, in my recitatives, altogether in my own way." Sascha Poehlmann uses Whitman's term and argues that his work can serve as a model of future-founding poetry, or poetry that aims to actively mark and perform a beginning as well as that a poets after Whitman have employed, modified, and adapted such a future-founding mode, most recently in poems on 9/11, The presentation focuses on Whitman's own poetry and prose in order to show how his cultivation of the future in the present fuses the aesthetic and the political as it negotiates openness between an uncertain and a determined future. Speaker Biography: Sascha Poehlmann is a professor at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich and the 2011 Bavarian Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center. For captions, transcripts, and more information visit
Length: 56:54


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