Walt Whitman

Sally Evans Reviews David Prater

David Prater’s latest collection Leaves of Glass is based on three years’ correspondence in the late nineteenth century between young Australian poet Bernard O’Dowd and the ageing master Walt Whitman. The epistolary material between these two men, a collection of twenty or so letters currently archived at the State Library of Victoria, forms the skeleton for this collection. Prater deftly plays with these two personae, offering a kaleidoscopic vision of their relationship alongside a number of poems that experiment with the ambiguities of written language and the shifting levels of intimacy revealed by the O’Dowd–Whitman letters.

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