Whitman’s “Beginning My Studies”

While reading a PDF selection titled “How to Read a Poem” for my English 340 / Studies in Poetry course, I came across something that caused me to have an epiphany of sorts.

Walt Whitman’s poem “Beginning My Studies” was one of twenty-six he wrote to introduce his major work, a single book he had been working on his whole life.

The feeling he describes in this poem, the feeling of loving the idea of just starting out so much that he does not want to move forward, is exactly how I feel when I start working on a new story. Perhaps this is why I have difficulty completing what I hope would become novels. When inspiration strikes, I absolutely love sitting down with my laptop to begin typing out a new idea. It’s moving past that beginning I have trouble with, and this must be because I “linger with pleasure over the ecstatic beginning.”

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One response to “Whitman’s “Beginning My Studies”

  1. I love this poem, too. I don’t think Whitman is reveling only the beginning, but the idea of the thing. The whole endeavor. And not only that but the promise of things to come by the undertaking. It’s just wonderful. You want to stop and celebrate interminably.

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