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« Letter from David Lehman: The New School Establishes the Paul Violi Poetry Prize | Main | "When that I was and a little tiny boy" (posted by Rob Crawford) »

April 14, 2011


Question is, is it really Whitman on the recording, or is it some imposter? This has been in contention since the recording surfaced back in 1992. For a full history of the recording, see my blog:

Thanks for your comment. There is certainly some controversy surrounding the recording, and your link looks like a helpful resource on this. I should note for readers though that the Walt Whitman Archive features the recording:

I hope it's really Whitman. He certainly has a Joisey accent though the murk.

Not sure what to think of the naked pictures. Kind of creepy, kind of fascinating, kind of silly, all at the same time. He does look quite nonchalant, as if he spent a lot of time in just his birthday suit.

This gives a whole new meaning to "free verse."

Do not knwo about the voice, but I recognize him naked.That's him alright

Oh my.

My comment came off sounding like I think the Whitman recording is a hoax.

Just to set the record straight, I don't! I really want to believe it is the voice of Whitman. I love the speaker's natural delivery and shmoozy love of each word.

But I had to point out that its authenticity has been questioned.

Its presence at the Walt Whitman Archive is no surprise, as the archive is co-edited by Professor Ed Folsom, who launched the recording into public view back in 1992 at the Whitman Centenary at the University of Utah. He was and is the recording's champion ever since.

But Ed is eager to point out that we do not know for sure whether the recording is authentic, and we cannot prove the issue either way without more historical evidence.

In any case, I hope some readers might check out my blogpiece about the whole history of this fascinating piece of archival audio.

To post photos of naked people, dead or alive, is certainly not the evidence or mark of an intellgent race but of a depraved and degraded race. It is of prurient interest only and can boast no redeeming value. It is lewd. It falls under the category of the pornographic and not fit to be published by responsible people.I think it should be removed.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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