In the Hamasoor edition, it is presented in a way that represents Walt Whitman, but it is different by representing I, Sheilan Hamasoor, as an individual. Before I started this project, I didn’t fully grasp the underlying concept of Walt Whitman himself and his poetry entirely. With all of his poems that he has written in Leaves of Grass, it was difficult to find a common theme and identify what each individual poem was about. I grasped a general concept, especially by analyzing specific poems, but I couldn’t find a common connection between the entirety of the corpus. I believed that the only way I could understand Walt Whitman was to be Walt Whitman, and the best way I felt I could step into his shoes is by writing my own poetry that is inspired by his.
Walt Whitman is an influential national American poet; he creates the image of America for itself and to his readers. As an individual who advocates for diversity in this country, I saw a few elements of Whitman’s beliefs in me. Starting off with that notion, I began flipping through the pages of the corpus to locate common themes that I could relate to myself. Because Whitman believes he speaks for everyone, finding poems that seemed relatable to this country and me were not that difficult. I then contemplated what I could do with the poems—if I should completely re-write them, change a couple of words to make it seem like it fit me as an individual, or to evoke his style.