Drum-Taps: The Complete 1865 Edition (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

"Manhattan crowds with their turbulent musical chorus-
    with varied chorus and light of the sparkling eyes;
Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me."
from 'Give me the splendid silent sun'

A beautiful updated/restored edition of Walt Whitman's Drum-Taps was released last April by NYRB. The poems about New York helped me reconnect to this city. Loving, tender, this makes for a stellar gift. 

-- Cody

— From Cody M. Staff Picks


Walt Whitman worked as a nurse in an army hospital during the Civil War and published Drum-Taps, his war poems, as the war was coming to an end. Later, the book came out in an expanded form, including "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," Whitman's passionate elegy for Lincoln. The most moving and enduring poetry to emerge from America's most tragic conflict, Drum-Taps also helped to create a new, modern poetry of war, a poetry not just of patriotic exhortation but of somber witness. Drum-Taps is thus a central work not only of the Civil War but of our war-torn times.

But Drum-Taps as readers know it from Leaves of Grass is different from the work of 1865. Whitman cut and reorganized the book, reducing its breadth of feeling and raw immediacy. This edition, the first to present the book in its original form since its initial publication 150 years ago, is a revelation, allowing one of Whitman's greatest achievements to appear again in all its troubling glory.

About the Author

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) revolutionized American poetry through the eleven editions of his magnum opus, Leaves of Grass, a celebration of the dynamism and diversity of a still-young America. Drum-Taps, first published in 1865, was written out of his experience as a nurse during the Civil War. It is a collection, he once wrote in a letter to a friend, "put together by fits and starts, on the field, in the hospitals as I worked with the soldier boys." Lawrence Kramer is an author and composer who has often addressed Whitman's poetry in both capacities. He has set several of the poems from Drum-Taps to music and edited the essay collection Walt Whitman and Modern Music. Kramer is Distinguished Professor of English and Music at Fordham University.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781590178621
ISBN-10: 1590178629
Publisher: New York Review of Books
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 200
Language: English