Takes issue with Vendler's "Poetry and the Mediation of Value: Whitman on Lincoln" (Michigan Quarterly Review, Winter 2000), arguing that "Vendler's formalist and broadly humanist reading of value . . . mainly focuses on repressing the particulars of Whitman's Americanness, of his racialized politics, and of his sexuality"; suggests that Whitman "was not interested in preserving the purity of lyric as a genre" and in fact "encourages us to transgress generic ideals and the limiting conventions of authorship with which they are associated," thus making "his poetry . . . inseparable from his prose" and leading us "to honor the idiosyncratic."
Copyright © 2001 Vivian Pollak