New Years Walt Whitman Special: Great are the Myths pt.11

Great is language….it is the mightiest of sciences,

It is the fulness and color and form and diversity of the

earth….and of men and women….and of all

qualities and processes;

It is greater than wealth….it is greater than buildings or

ships or religions or paintings or music.

Let Walt Whitman bring in 2020.

Happy New Year!

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.158

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.10

The truth in man is no dictum….it is vital as eyesight,

If there be any soul there is truth….if there be man or

woman there is truth….If there be physical or

moral there is truth,

If there be equilibrium or volition there is truth…..if

there be things at all upon the earth there is truth.

O truth of the earth! O truth of things! I am determined

to press the whole way toward you,

Sound your voice! I scale mountains or dive in the sea

after you.

Walt Whitman often speaks of balance in his poems by calling out life’s opposite forces.

If there be man or woman there is truth

If there be physical or moral

I scale mountains or dive in the sea

Each example is an opposite. Each noun or verb needs the other to exist.

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.158

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.9

Great is the greatest nation..the nation of clusters of

equal nations.

Great is the earth, and the way it became what it is,

Do you imagine it is stopped at this?….and the increase


Understand then that it goes as far onward from this as

this is from the times when it lay in covering waters

and gases.

Great is the quality of truth in man,

The quality of truth in man supports itself through all


It is inevitably in the man….He and it are in love, and

never leave each other.

A bit about Whitman the man:

Whitman was a Brooklyn native. He was born in West Hills, Huntington Township, New York, but his father moved the family to Brooklyn in search of building work.

His background is a familiar one to writers of all generations.

He held down various day jobs – office boy, teacher, printer, freelance journalist.

He worked for a variety of papers in New York City – the Aurora and Evening Tattler (How could you not read a paper named the Evening Tattler?) among them. He even ran a housebuilding business.

Throughout this time though he was writing, publishing poems, literary prose and sketches.


From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.157,158

and Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose (Library of America) pgs. 1347,1348

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.8

Wealth with the flush hand and fine clothes and


But then the soul’s wealth-which is candor and

knowledge and pride and enfolding love:

Who goes for men and women showing poverty richer

than wealth?

Expression of what is written or said forget

not that silence is also expressive,

That anguish as hot as the hottest and contempt as cold as

the coldest may be without words,

That the true adoration is likewise without words and

without kneeling.

Walt Whitman for Monday…

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.157

Tag or Gesture Drawing?

It’s difficult to tell the difference.

Both practices are rapid movements of the pen, marker or pencil, attempting to capture a form quickly.

A tag though is made to be seen. It’s intent is to pay homage to the creator.

Gesture drawing is an exercise. Their intent is to loosen up the artist, and then hit the wastebasket.

It is only action, the gesture, that you are trying to respond to here, not the details of the structure. You must discover – and feel – that the gesture is dynamic, moving, not static. Gesture has no precise edges, no exact shape, no jelled form. The forms are in the act of changing. Gesture is movement in space.

The Natural Way to Draw. Kimon, Nicolaides, pg 15

A reminder: Don’t fret. It’s fine to go through reams of paper:

Feel free to use a great deal of paper and do not ever worry about ‘spoiling’ it – that is one of our reasons for using cheap paper. I notice that students working at their best, thinking only of the gesture and not of making pictures, often throw their drawings into the trash-can without even looking at them. A few should be kept and dated as a record of your progress, but the rest may be tossed aside as carelessly as yesterday’s newspaper. Results are best when they come from the right kind of un-self-conscious effort.

The Natural Way to Draw. Kimon, Nicolaides, pg 18

Constellations, legends, and three men in a canoe.

If you live in the western hemisphere, in particular North America, the constellation Orion is depicted as a mighty warrior.

He wears a belt. He holds a sword. He stands heroically.

In Australia though, looking up from the southern hemisphere, Orion’s arrangement in the sky flips upside down. His legend takes on a different meaning.

Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest explain further in their book – The Story of Astronomy: How the universe revealed it’s secrets.

The Constellation of Orion – seen in the West as a mighty hunter – also has a different interpretation in Australia. That’s partly because the stars are seen ‘upside down’ from the southern hemisphere. Contemporary Australians often pick out the central three stars of Orion’s ‘Belt’ and ‘Sword’ as a rather nicely defined Saucepan!

‘The Yolngu see the three stars of Orion’s Belt as three men sitting in a canoe,’ says Ray Norris, returning to the more ancient traditions, ‘with Betelgeuse and Rigel as the front and back of the canoe.’ Orion’s Sword – comprising fainter stars and the glowing patch of the Orion Nebula – is a fish caught on a fishing line. Norris enthuses: ‘Once you’ve been told this, and you’ve seen it, its actually really dramatic.’

Three men sitting in a canoe. A saucepan. A fish dangling from it’s line.

Switching hemispheres will switch your perspective.

I’ll never look at Orion the same way again.

New life goal: gaze at Orion from the southern hemisphere.

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.6

Great is youth, and equally great is old age….great are

the day and night;

Great is wealth and great is poverty….great is

expression and great is silence.

Youth large lusty and loving….youth full of grace and

force and fascination,

Do you know that old age may come after you with equal

grace and force and fascination?

Old age is coming with grace and fascination?

I’m not so sure.



You’re right Walt. Old age is the unstoppable force.

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pg.157

Beppe Furino – The Timeless Water Carrier

Every team needs this player.

State side we call them defensive midfielders, or holding midfielders. Back in my U-10 parks and recreation soccer days we called them stoppers.

In Italy they’re called the Mediano, the water carrier.

John Foot describes the Italian interpretation of this player in his book Winning at all Costs: A Scandalous history of Italian Soccer:

In order for the skillful players to have the space with which to work, somebody had to get the ball, and give it to them. The playmakers couldn’t be expected to do the running that was needed, the dirty work, the pressing. Every team had at least two players of this type, if not three.

Winning at all Costs: A Scandalous history of Italian Soccer, John Foot. pg 146, 147

Juventus of course, had whom many consider to be the greatest mediani of all – Beppe Furino.

Beppe, to the right, in the black and white Juventus stripes

Juventus specialized in mediani, and the greatest of all was Beppe Furino in the 1970s and 1980s. Little Furino, from Palermo in Sicily, ran himself into the ground in order to get the ball to a succession of playmakers such as Franco Causio, Liam Brady and Michel Platini. Yet Furino was not a one-dimensional player. Team-mate Marco Tardelli called him ‘the most tactically intelligent player I have ever seen. He was always close to the ball.’

Winning at all Costs: A Scandalous history of Italian Soccer, John Foot. pg 148

A mediano doesn’t revel in personal glory. But their trophy cabinets are flush with silver.

The life of a mediano was thus a melancholic one. They were always destined to be the supporting act, straight men, water carriers. They could never be stars and would remain forever in the shadow of their more skillful colleagues. Furino won a record eight titles with Juventus in the 1970s and 1980s, but is rarely mentioned in accounts of those years.

Winning at all Costs: A Scandalous history of Italian Soccer, John Foot. pg 148

Beppe Furino and water carriers like him are tactical survivors. No matter the era, they remain relevant.