Denis Johnson, Walt WhitmanPosted: May 29, 2017 Filed under: America Since 1945, heroes, writing Leave a comment
We’ve been thinking a lot about the glow of some of your poems, the visionary language seeping through parts of Angels, and the electric way in which the border between Fuckhead’s consciousness and the outside world is always being dissolved throughout Jesus’ Son. Could you talk a bit more about Whitman’s influence in your poetry and prose?
I’m not sure I could trace the lines of his influence on my language, particularly, or the way his work affects the strategies in my work, or anything like that. His expansive spirit, his generosity, his eagerness to love – those are the things that influence me, not just as a writer, but as a person. His introduction to LEAVES OF GRASS I take as a sort of personal manifesto, especially the passage:
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. . . .
found in this interview with Denis Johnson. Oddly or presciently or synchronistically enough I’d been looking for Denis Johnson materials as I did ever so often. How did this guy know this stuff? was what I was looking for as usual.
May I please recommend to you you have actor Will Patton read you the audiobook of:
I loved the experience so much I got into the full unabridged 23+ hours of:
Will Patton is such a gifted, subtle performer of audiobooks.
Let’s give the last word to DJ:
I love McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and I don’t care if they’re made of pink slime and ammonia, I eat them all the time because they’re delicious.