One's Self I Sing Poem Analysis

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The purpose of poetry is to share an emotion, an idea, or an impression. Sometimes poets use traditional forms such as a sonnet or haiku to aid in communication. Some forms are crafted to create expectations within the reader, for example an elegy is a mournful poem crafted for the dying or deceased. However, lack of traditional form does not prevent the poet from communicating his point, nor does it indicate a lack of shape. Walt Whitman argues that poetry is better left unfettered by the mathematics of strict form. His poetry is moving and emotive with variable and non-traditional structure, form, and shape.
According to Whitman, inspiration determines the structure of poetry. The soulful expression of the writer provides what rhyme, uniformity,
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Whitman’s poem “One’s-Self I Sing” is an articulate appreciation of humanity as a whole, while still acknowledging that the whole is composed of individuals. The open form poem presents the physical pieces of personhood but maintains that en-mass the idea of the group “is worthier far” of admiration (“One’s-Self” 633). His poem might also celebrate the conclusion of the civil war and continued wholeness in national unity. His idea that humanity, or the United States of America is more beautiful when viewed as a complete form can be applied to his appreciation of poetry. Poetic imagery is powerful, meter and rhyme are admirable, but the wholeness of the poem holds the spiritual, emotional, or social value of the piece. Open form poetry is not necessarily separated into stanzas, meter pattern, or rhyming lines, instead, the poem is taken as a whole. The whole defines the shape. When taken apart, into so many phenotypes the beauty of the average is lost, in poetry and …show more content…
Whitman’s inspired poetry does not reliably fit within any specific classification of traditional form. He wrote with variable feet, stress, rhyme and rhythm but he uses many poetic devises that give his poetry shape. In an excerpt of “I Sing the Body Electric” Whitman describes the human form but asserts that the form is not the whole of a person, merely collection of parts. When taken together these parts are inhabited, Whitman insists, and become imbued and inseparable from the soul. In this way Whitman maintains that the shape of the soul is the sum of its parts – while still being greater. His feelings for poetry are much the same. As a student of the transcendentalists, Whitman expresses the idea that soul-divinity is inherent and recognizable in various forms (Woodlief). His open form poetry is exemplary of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The lines are not even, they do not rhyme and yet the soul of the poem is vibrant when “the exquisite realization” of Whitman’s ideas awakes within the reader who examines the whole body of his poetry (“From ‘I”

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