Rotten Reviews: Leaves of Grass

(The post just below this one is a Weekly Text on Langston Hughes’ poem “I, too, sing America,” which is Mr. Hughes’ response to Walt Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing.” This seemed as a good as place as any to post these squibs about Mr. Whitman’s work from these, uh, unperceptive reviewers.)

“No, no, this kind of thing won’t do…. The good folks down below (I mean posterity) will have none of it.”

James Russell Lowell, quoted in The Complete Works, Vol. 14, 1904

“Whitman is as unacquainted with poetry as a hog is with mathematics.”

The London Critic

“Of course, to call it poetry, in any sense, would be mere abuse of language.”

William Allingham, letter to W.M. Rossetti, 1857

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

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