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It's brazen of me to mention myself in the same paragraph with Walt Whitman, let alone in the same sentence, but I've discovered we have something in common—the habit of forever rewriting what we long ago thought finished. Thirty-five years after he first published it, Whitman was still rewriting and adding to his Leaves of Grass, just as I, ever since its inception, have been rewriting and adding to my Rewritten Rewrites.


Already this morning, I’ve rewritten the last two sentences of a piece I wrote ten years ago, rearranged a sentence in a more recent piece, and, in another old one, reinserted a comma I removed yesterday, and replaced "stirring" with "rousing". And I’ve just rewritten the last sentence of this introduction.


I know—this obsessive rewriting hardly qualifies me to share a sentence with the great Walt Whitman but, splashing about here in the shallows, I can’t help taking heart from glimpses of myself in the big boys. And Whitman isn’t my first—I’ve just as brazenly shared sentences with Ernest Hemingway, Leonard Cohen, E. B. White and, as an artist, with Alex Colville (among other things, we shared a passion for the Audi Roadster). I'm working toward being brazenly mentioned, myself, in the same sentence with. Here’s where I’ve gotten to—

prose

verse