Preface to the Third Issue (
PDF of the original print version )
the Preface he wrote for the first edition of Leaves of
Grass in 1855, Walt Whitman called for a race of poets
to make use of the United States, with its "veins full
of poetical stuff," and predicted that the States would
make use of the poet as "their common referee."
The great poets were to come from the people and keep the
Republic on a course toward perfect equality. The American
poets are to enclose old and new for America is the race of
races. Of them a bard is to be commensurate with a people.
To him the other continents arrive as contributions. His spirit
responds to his country's spirit… An individual is as superb
as a nation when he has the qualities which make a superb
nation. The soul of the largest and wealthiest and proudest
nation may well go half-way to meeet that of its poets…The
proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately
as he absorbed it. Whitman absorbed the spirit of America,
and in return was absorbed by it, but what of the race of
poets who he hoped would carry on his work? For this issue,
the Mickle Street Review asked for poetry that was
"commensurate with a people," that reflected the
poetical stuff that flows in America's veins more than a century
and a quarter after Whitman wrote his Preface. His efforts
of modern poets to meet their country halfway compose the
principal theme of this issue.
editors would like to acknowledge with gratitude the sponsors
of the Mickle Street Review, Mrs. Doris Kellogg Neale;
Camden College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University; and
University College/Camden, Rutgers University.