Live Oak, With Moss by Walt Whitman

Live Oak, With Moss by Walt Whitman includes 12 poems that have never been published like this before. The book itself is beautiful. I love the texture of the cover. It is raised and the pages are sprayed gold.

Brian Selznick illustrated this book in such a unique way. He didn’t illustrate the poems, but in my opinion it is as if he illustrates the beginning to bring us into the poems and the story they tell and then after reading the story, you are brought back out of the story through the illustrations.

When Whitman was turning 40, he wrote these 12 poems which were his first intense reflections on the love and attraction he felt for other men. There is history in these poems as it is in them that he attempts to define same-sex love decades before the word homosexual is a common word. He also dreams of a supportive, loving community a hundred years before today’s LGBTQIA2S+ rights movement.

This is the first time I’ve read Whitman and I love how this book was brought together. The end of the book includes pictures of the original poems in Whitman’s notebook.

Karen Karbeiner wrote the afterword. In it, she gives some history of Whitman and explains where the poems come from. The afterword is actually the bulk of the reading and it made me really appreciate what i was holding in my hands.

This is a beautiful book in so many ways.

Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛

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