We are the Future: A Poetry Workshop Using Walt Whitman’s “Democratic Vistas”
In “Democratic Vistas” Whitman presents his ideas on Democracy, Culture and the “vistas” he proposes for a nation that has just concluded the “Secession War” as he calls it. The essay was published in 1870 just as Andrew Johnson was being removed from office; Reconstruction was taking place; and immigration was expanding. In the paper, Whitman does what he always does, use words in illuminating or obscuring ways. He often uses antique locutions, “Ye” for instance. But the words offer poets stepping stones to new poems.