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  • Spanish-Language Contributions
  • Antonio C. Márquez

The perennial interest in Whitman continues in 2007. Andres Olaizola's "El lenguaje poetico de Whitman según el lenguaje ensayistico de Martí: Una aproximación a 'El poeta Walt Whitman'" (Espéculo 37: n.p.) examines José Martí's essay on Whitman, one of the first Spanish-language critiques of Whitman's poetics. Martí astutely measured Whitman's genius and was generous in his praise. His essay in its tone, style, poetic rhythms, and celebration of rebellion reveals Whitman's influence. Martí celebrated Whitman as "the poet rebel," and Olaizola adds that Martí understood Whitman's "rebellion and originality . . . [that] came from his language, from how his poetic devices reflected and at the same time are influenced by his ideas of universal unity, nature and friendship." Dorde Cuvardic García's "La Oda a Walt Whitman: Homenaje al poeta del pueblo y las multitudes" (Revista de filología y lingüistica de la Universidad de Costa Rica 32: 19–28) is a study of Federico García Lorca's famous ode to Whitman in "Poet in New York." Cuvardic García points out that the Spanish poet greatly admired the American one, and Whitman was a strong influence on the poetics García Lorca shaped in his vision of New York. García Lorca also eulogized Whitman for "exalting the spirituality of homosexual expression," and the homoerotic elements in "Poet in New York" are Whitmanian. The author concludes that García Lorca embraced Whitman's universality and "declared himself inheritor of the American poet's humanistic ideology." An interesting link can be found in Fernando J. B. Martinho's "Eugenio de Andrade [End Page 507] y las letras norteamericanas: De Whitman y Melville a Williams y Stevens" (CHA 684: 71–79). Eugenio de Andrade's interest in Whitman started when he translated García Lorca's "Oda a Walt Whitman" from Spanish into Portuguese. Marintho outlines Andrade's affinity for the two giants of 19th-century American literature and his reception of American modernist poetry. The range of Andrade's eclecticism and his astute reading of American literature made him a unique figure in modern letters: "We are also convinced that his dialogue with American authors will help us better understand the true dimension of his greatness." José Iván Ortega Galiano chimes in with "Walt Whitman y el ideal poetico racial en la America prebélica" (Espéculo 36: n.p.). He addresses the knotty issue of Whitman's attitude toward slavery and the place of the Negro in his democratic idealism and vision of America. Ortega Galiano clarifies that Whitman's vision was profoundly affected by the Civil War and that his poetic vision changed after the war. His essay, however, centers on the year of the first edition of Leaves of Grass to underscore the racial ideal in Whitman's utopianism. The focus is on "I am the poet of slaves / And of the masters of slaves." Whitman humanizes and gives voice to both slave and master and makes them part and parcel of his universal humanity. Both master and slave are enslaved; neither can be free if the other is not. This is the clinching truth, Ortega Galiano concludes, that made Whitman a prophet and visionary poet.

A more ambitious study of Whitman can be found in Jacqueline Rivera Rivera's "De cantos y contracantos: Divergencias y convergencias en la textualización del yo/nosotros en Walt Whitman y Pedro Mir" (Horizontes 48: 77–116). Her study assays Whitman's influence with an historical overview on canonical Latin American writers such as Martí, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges. The first part of the essay links aesthetics and politics; applying postcolonial literary theory, it places Whitman against the history of American expansionism and imperialism in Latin America. The second part moves to the specific—to the Dominican Republic, twice invaded by the United States, and to Whitman's influence on the Dominican poet Pedro Mir. Mir's epic "Contracanto a Walt Whitman: Canto a nosotros mismos" plays on Whitman's "Song of Myself" and appropriates Whitman's use of poetics to voice the need for social justice. Mir...


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