From the Archive

Issue 1



The First Issue

The Mickle Street Review

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Walt Whitman lived for nearly twenty years in Camden, the last eight of them – from 1884 to 1892 – in his own house on Mickle Street. From this house he rode out to Timber Creek, where he basked in the sun, and to the ferry dock on the Delaware River, where he crossed and recrossed to Philadelphia and back. Here he wrote many of his last poems, including the collections called “Sands at Seventy” and “Goodbye My Fancy,” and made the final revisions to his “Deathbed Edition” of Leaves of Grass. Here he designed his tomb in Harleigh Cemetary, suffered his last illness, and died. His home on Mickle Street remains his memorial, preserved much as it was when he lived there.

But of course, the most important memorial to a poet is the continuing influence exercised by his work on the poets who come after him. This volume, published from the poet’s home by the Walt Whitman Association, clearly demonstrates the breadth and vitality of that influence. In fact, the process of putting the volume together has taught the editors that the poem in homage to Whitman has become a sub-genre of American poetry. Established poets and newer poets alike feel a need to recognize in print the place Whitman occupies in their lives. From James Dickey’s narrative of his discovery of Whitman on a night flight, to Whitman House Curator Eleanor Ray’s narrative of a childhood trip through Whitman’s cellar, the writers in this volume make a start toward describing the presence – often felt as a physical presence – of the poet in the world around them. Others, such as Richard Eberhart, Robert Creeley, and Lawrence Felinghetti, remark the ability of Whitman’s work to remain relevant to the evolving concerns of poets through the years. Still others, such as Philip Dacey in his extraordinary dialogue between Whitman and Hopkins, probe aspects of Whitman’s personal and poetic character that have never previously been explored.

But this volume is only a start. The Mickle Street Review is intended as an annual publication of the best poems, stories, or essays honoring Whitman or explicitly manifesting his influence on American letters, and some outstanding contributions to the second volume have already been received. Further contributions are invited. Meanwhile, the editors would like to acknowledge with gratitude the sponsors of The Mickle Street Review, Doris Kellogg Neale and Dr. Harold Barnshaw, as well as the assistance of Camden College of Arts and Sciences and University College, Rutgers University, Camden.

– Geoffrey M. Sill

Table of Contents

Centennial For Whitman – Richard Eberhart
To Walt Whitman – Kate Britt
The Magic Badge Or, Song of Myself 100 Years After – Norman Friedman
Populist Manifesto: To Poets, With Love – Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets – Paul Fericano
America – A.D. Winans
City Lover – Kathryn Greenwood
The Walt Whitman Shopping Center – JH Bowden
Yet Another Poem Addressed to Walt Whitman – Michael Rumaker
A Hoosier Song of Walt Whitman – Norbert Krapf
Camden: A Visit to Whitman’s – Robin Hiteshew
[Untitled] – Elmira Bussey
Democracy in Coal Country – Barry Sternlieb
Brooklyn – Robert Vas Dias
Blade of Grass – William Ooandasan
Love Song to the Earth – Juniper Violet
The Monument – Gail Kadison Golden
Not Till the Sun Excludes – Ernest Stefanik
Try Sheet – Henry Petroski
New Jersey – Lyle Tatum
Federal Street at Night – Sharon Olds
Walt – Carolyn Carson
On Comparing Whitman’s Leaves with Uncle Nick Grindstaff’s Tombstone Mile 398, Appalachian Trail — Jeff Branin
God, Do I Love Reading Walt Whitman – Jeff Branin
Before I’m Awake – Sandra Hoben
Lines for W – John Mann
Avenue of the Americas – Barbara Adams
A Student Apologizes – Candice Warne
On Studying Whitman Indoors – Jeanne Lohmann
For Walt Whitman – Lolette Escoe
Lunch with Allen – Jim Farrell
Ode to the City Bus – Charles Taylor
America – Fred Johnson
Introductory Remarks to a Reading 8th Annual Walt Whitman Festival Camden, New Jersey, 4 May 1977
by James Dickey
Transcript from a reading by Dickey.

A Photograph with Children
Doris Kellog Neale
Neale’s connection to a famous Whitman photograph.

Part of the Camden Online Poetry Project.
Copyright |  Rutgers University – Camden.
Supported in part by a grant from the
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.