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Live Oak, with Moss

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  8 reviews
As he was turning forty, Walt Whitman wrote twelve poems in a small handmade book he entitled “Live Oak, With Moss.” The poems were intensely private reflections on his attraction to and affection for other men. They were also Whitman’s most adventurous explorations of the theme of same-sex love, composed decades before the word “homosexual” came into use. This revolutiona ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams
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4.19  · 
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 ·  31 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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May 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I picked this up because I really enjoyed a discussion of it on a podcast I listen to, but clearly I wasn't listening closely enough to understand what I was actually getting in this book. Having never read Walt Whitman (outside of maybe a poem in an English class?), I didn't have enough of a connection to the person or to these poems in their later form to find their "true" form all that interesting. The illustrations were beautiful, but I didn't really feel a connection between them and the po ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Stunning! Whitman's poems, Brian Selznick's illustrations, Maurice Sendak's inspiration, and Karen Karbiener's analysis are like a conversation across time. To see Whitman's most personal, unpublished poetry presented in such a lush, gorgeous way really celebrates and sings him. (Yawp, for real.)

Like the cluster, Selznick's art unfolds slowly, tenderly, passionately — a visual poem. I loved the combination of his signature colored pencil drawings and collage of 19th and 20th century ph
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a visualization of a cluster of homoerotic Walt Whitman poems that he put together in a secret handmade book around 1850. The drawings by Brian Selznick are exceptional and the afterward by Karen Karbiener contextualizes Whitman's original work within his life and times. Good show all around.
Jason Furman
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Amazing illustrations by Brian Selznick who never fails to be amazing (see The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck, and The Marvels). I wish I actually enjoyed the Walt Whitman poems they were illustrating. And the academic afterward seemed very good but was a bit too detailed on Whitman for my taste. In some dimension this book is superlative, just not completely to my taste--and that may be my own failing.

The book is a set of homoerotic poems that Whitman wrote but never published and were
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This made me very emotional. The artwork complements the poems very well in my opinion and after I finished the poems, I felt very emotional. 10/10 crying in the bathroom.
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow! Brian Selznick delivers another unique reading experience- similar to what he did with The Invention of Hugo Cabret- this time illustrating a companion of sorts to Walt Whitman's poems "Live Oak, with Moss." This cluster of twelve poems, long kept secret for their homoerotic content, is full of passion and yearning describing many stages of love. Included is an in depth analysis of the writing and meanings of these poems.
Ken French
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
12 previously unpublished (in their complete form that is) poems by Walt Whitman with a theme of same sex love? What's not to like?
Kevin Wright
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
That the poems themselves would be amazing was beyond a doubt. But what Selznick does with his extensive illustrations is transcendent.
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Walter Whitman was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse.

Born on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and a volunteer nurse during