July 05, 2010

Happy Birthday, America!

I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be

blithe and strong.

The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves

off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the

deck-hand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter

singing as he stands,

The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the

morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,

The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at

work, or of the girl sewing or washing,

Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

The day what belongs to the day – at night the party of young

fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

- Walt Whitman, 1860

Though I’m a day late (lateness is a bit of a trademark with me, as you can probably tell), what better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with Walt Whitman? I always whip out my Norton anthology of Whitman works on the Fourth – I think it goes nicely with beer, barbecue, and fireworks. And the recitation of the Declaration of Independence, which my family usually does, pre-hotdogs. Happy Birthday America!

This post hopefully marks my return to semi-regular blogging. May, June and the start of July have been jam-packed with wedding planning, campaign hullabaloo, job-applying madness, and an intensive summer course (more on that one later), so my just-for-fun ventures have sadly fallen by the wayside. But because I have a sneaking suspicion the book publishing job market will continue to be brutal and I will soon have way too much time on my hands, I can soon return to regular reading and writing (silver lining, folks). Good thing too; I have a quickly growing pile of ARCs and free books from the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, as well as growing piles of just-read and to-be-read books. So many good things.

(Image via The Walt Whitman Archive)

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