Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meeting Walt Whitman

An interesting moment that hasn't been talked about much, anyone with information or resources on the meeting between Poe and Walt Whitman is kindly encouraged to post!


  1. According to Whitman biographer Justin Kaplan, Poe published two articles by Whitman in the Broadway Journal; the titles aren't name in this source. Whitman wrote, "Poe was very cordial in a quiet way... appear'd well in person, dress, &c. I have a distinct and pleasing remembrance of his looks, voice, manner, and matter: very kindly and human, but subdued, perhaps a little jaded" (quoted from Stoval's "Prose Works of Walt Whitman," according to endnotes). Another Whitman biographer, Jerome Loving, says their meeting occurred at the BJ office in New York. I'm not sure if people really buy that Whitman met Poe or if it's generally considered apocryphal.

    1. Thanks to the Walt Whitman Archive, we have ready access to the Good Gray Poet’s account of his favorable impression of Poe based on a brief meeting of the two men in New York: "I have seen Poe—met him: he impressed me very favorably: was dark, quiet, handsome—Southern from top to toe: languid, tired out, it is true, but altogether ingratiating." Was that in New York? "Oh yes: there: we had only a brief visit: he was frankly conciliatory: I left him with no doubts left, if I ever had any." Poe was "curiously a victim of history—like Paine." "The disposition to parade, to magnify, his defects has grown into a habit: every literary, every moralistic, jackanapes who comes along has to give him an additional kick. His weaknesses were obvious enough to anybody: but what do they amount to after all?” (Friday, January 25, 1889)