About the Poems
by Joshua Ware
For the past three years, I've worked as an editorial assistant for the Walt Whitman Archive, which digitally archives and documents all of Whitman's manuscripts, printed material, correspondence, criticism, etc. More specifically, I've been transcribing, encoding, and styling his printed prose material. As anyone who has worked a similar job can attest, these tasks can sometimes becomes tedious. To break the monotony and have some creative fun, I began writing the series "Specimen Cuts," which are erasures of Walt Whitman's Specimen Days. The title of each individual section corresponds to the individual titles of the micro-essays within Whitman's collection from where I appropriated the text. Additionally, I structured the poems in counted verse (each line contains two words, and each poem contains four couplets) with the secondary constraint being that the first line of each section began with "I" plus a verb. Through an an accumulation of several hundred pieces, its my hope that an identity that's not quite Whitman and not quite me will form through their aggregate musicality.