Images courtesy of Ed Centeno.
2014 Song of Myself Marathon, Brooklyn, New York.
I’ve seen lots of great drawings of Whitman but this one by Charles Hefling is fantastic and wonderful! My friend Ed commissioned Dr. Hefling to create this caricature of Whitman.
The inspiration for this piece was the poem, Grand is the Seen, which appears in Leaves of Grass under the Good-bye My Fancy group of poems.
Grand is the seen, the light, to me — grand are the sky and stars,
Grand is the earth, and grand are lasting time and space,
And grand their laws, so multiform, puzzling, evolutionary;
But grander far the unseen soul of me, comprehending, endowing all those,
Lighting the light, the sky and stars, delving the earth, sailing the sea,
(What were all those, indeed, without thee, unseen soul? of what amount without thee?)
More evolutionary, vast, puzzling, O my soul!
More multiform far — more lasting thou than they.
I am pleased and excited to introduce renowned Whitman collector, Ed Centeno. Ed contacted me via this site in the summer of 2013, and since then we have quickly become friends and have thoroughly enjoyed sharing our Whitman collections with one another. I’ve invited Ed to share items from his massive Whitman collection with you in this space!
Ed has been collecting Whitman materials and memorabilia for over 20 years. In Ed’s words,
“My interest in Whitman started while writing an article about gay poets depicted on stamps. I learned that he lived and died in Camden, NJ. Not only do I have family still living in this city, but I attended middle school in the 70’s. I purchase several bio and a few Leaves of Grass editions.
I branched out from stamps to postcards (500 plus in the collection) and after learning about the cigar labels (seven different designs), I became fascinated by the idea of how the Whitman image and words were used for advertising. Just to give you an idea of my collection: I have devoted an entire room in my house to my collection. My most recent collecting interest are artists books related and/or depicting Whitman. I also enjoy commissioning art work about Whitman.”
He is often contacted by the curators at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Museum and freely offers items from his collections for displays in the museum.
To view rare and wonderful items from Ed’s Walt Whitman collections, click the link at the top of this page, “Ed’s Collections.” Check back often, this will be updated frequently!