“Walt Whitman” “Good Gray Poet” “Leaves of Grass” “Song of Myself” “Language Theory” Language Form Theory Transcendentalism poetry

Anxious yawp

by Daniel Silliman Language
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Whitman wanted the sign and the signified to be the same thing, to come together and, at the moment of poet’s invocation, be one. He wanted to cross the gap between sign and signified by poetic force …. He wanted the sign to be more than a sign, more than arbitrary, to really be alive, to be the thing, be filled with the spirit of the thing signified and the spirit of the people using the sign, but he consistently found that he was trapped in the realm of the sign, unable to bridge over to the reality of things, and that poems are made out of words – the vibrant life he wants to yawp is, on the page, only arbitrary symbols.