1. Discuss the merits of Parker and Helms's arguments. Consider the
rhetoric of these arguments; the editorial principles at stake; the
sexual politics at issue.
2. What are the range of possible reasons why Whitman did not publish
"Live Oak, with Moss"? Helms argues that homophobia is the primary
reason why Whitman, after
1860, never again "wrote frankly about men loving men." Are there other
possible reasons besides homophobia? Is it it possible, for example,
fulfilling relationship with Peter Doyle made him less moved to write a
poetry marked by the anguish of unsatisfied love?
3. In "Commentary," Hershel Parker says: "Attention needs to be
focused on the imperfection of Whitman's efforts to revise the 'Live
Oak' poems and place them in the 1860 'Calamus' cluster." Do you agree
with Parker in finding the "Live Oak" sequence "coherent" and the 1860
"Calamus" poems less so? Do you agree with Parker that "imperfection"
effort to revise "Live Oak"? If so, in what ways
do individual "Live Oak" poems fail to work as free standing units within
the 1860 Leaves or fail to work as part of the cluster of related
4) Consider "Live Oak" V and VIII. These poems were included in the
third edition of Leaves of Grass (1860) but were excluded in
the fourth edition of 1867 and in all subsequent printings. Why
might Whitman have banished these poems from his work?