Writing Across The Ages

Craig Morgan Teicher finds the reasons for his devotion to poetry in the following passage from Walt Whitman:

And that my soul embraces you this hour, and that we
affect each other without ever seeing each other, and never
perhaps to see each other, is every bit as wonderful

Teicher comments:

I read and write poems to address and be addressed. To remember I am always a part of things that began before my life and will end after it. Whitman may well be the poet who, among all the poets ever in the world, addresses his words absolutely broadly, to all who do and do not hear them, and who manages to come close—as close, perhaps, as one’s own self—to each individual listener. Nowhere else but in Whitman do I know, as I know in the passage above, that someone distant and dead is speaking into the air with specifically me in mind—because it’s me he’s addressing—each of us is his “you”—a reader who he has never met and will never meet, who affects him because he believes—he knows—she or he will find his poems later, a reader who needs desperately at one or all moments to know she or he is not alone. That is most certainly me, and I hope that’s who, if anyone, reads my poems, because that’s who they’re written for.  We are never alone with Whitman; company like that is as much as we can ask from poetry.