A Poet Showing The New York Muscle, New York Dispatch (Article, 1855)

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A POET SHOWING THE NEW YORK MUSCLE.--The article on "Walt Whitman and his Poems," which we copy elsewhere from the September number of the United States Review, contains some suggestions to which the whole of the American press ought candidly and cordially to respond. As at present managed, the writing of poetry, not only by the popular poets, but by their numberless followers, is a shallow, dyspeptical, tinkling, sloppy, half-pretty, half-sickish sort of work; the same rhymes ten thousand times repeated--the same fancies and illustrations, most of them inconsistent with nature--the same old complaint of having the horrors bad, or being smitten with some charmer, of disgust with "hollow hearts," and with everything going wrong, the poet included. If Walt Whitman succeeds in his bold dash at all this effete stock of material, and substitutes the true model for a manly, friendly, wholesome, fortifying, muscular, American race of poets, worthy of the Thirty-One live United States, and the thirty-one millions of live men and women that inhabit them, he will do what shall make his name remembered in this land with a remembrance dear as nation ever gave to its most beloved writers. There is something in the very attempt of the poet, whether it succeeds or no, that deserves the warmest good will of the truly American literati.