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Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman

Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries

About this Poem 

“Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries” appeared in Drum-Taps, a collection of poems self-published by Whitman in 1865. Drum-Taps consists of Civil War-themed poems Whitman published after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. 

Shut Not Your Doors to Me Proud Libraries

Walt Whitman, 1819 - 1892

Shut not your doors to me, proud libraries,
For that which was lacking among you all, yet needed most, I      bring;
A book I have made for your dear sake, O soldiers,
And for you, O soul of man, and you, love of comrades;
The words of my book nothing, the life of it everything;
A book separate, not link’d with the rest, nor felt by the intellect;
But you will feel every word, O Libertad! arm’d Libertad!
It shall pass by the intellect to swim the sea, the air,
With joy with you, O soul of man. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

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Academy Chancellor C. D. Wright (1949-2016) at Poets Forum, 2015, in New York City
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