Advice from Walt Whitman & W. B. Yeats

Advice from Walt Whitman & W. B. Yeats Human Voices Wake Us

An episode from 10/20/21: Tonight, we hear anecdotes from the lives of two very different poets, Walt Whitman and W. B. Yeats. The remarks from Whitman come from the journals he kept while working out the poems that went into the first edition of Leaves of Grass, while the comments from Yeats span the first half of his life. Should we be surprised that both poets experienced extreme doubts not just at the beginning of their writing lives, but all through them?

The passage from Whitman can be found in the appendices of Gary Schmidgall’s edition of Whitman’s poems; the quotations from Yeats can be found in the first volume of R. F. Foster’s biography of Yeats.

Don’t forget to support Human Voices Wake Us on Substack, where you can also get our newsletter and other extras. You can also support the podcast by ordering any of my books: Notes from the Grid, To the House of the Sun, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, and Bone Antler Stone.

Any comments, or suggestions for readings I should make in later episodes, can be emailed to

Leave a Reply