Catching The Heart-Beat Of Life

Pen on notebook


The secret of it all is, to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment - to put things down without deliberation - without worrying about their style - without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote - wrote, wrote. No prepared pictures, no elaborated poem, no after-narrative, could be what the thing itself is. You want to catch its first spirit - to tally its birth. By writing at the instant the very hear-beat of life is caught.


Walt Whitman on writing from the upcoming ”Walt Whitman Speaks: Final Thoughts on Life, Writing, Spirituality, and the Promise of America” (to be published by the Library of America in April). 


The New York Review of Books published the introduction (in a somewhat different form) in the April 18th issue; a good read that you can find here.


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