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Analysis and comments on When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer. by Walt Whitman

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Comment 13 of 93, added on June 7th, 2005 at 3:40 PM.

i think the poem means exaclty what it says. he goes into a lecture and
finds himself so bored and sick of the topic. but he leaves the place,
realizing that he has learned something. the knowledge he acquired from
this astronomy course has helped him appreciate nature. and looking up at
the stars has never looked so beautiful to him before. the astronomy
professor has helped him grow an appreciation for the stars in the sky.
it's like students; we go to school and we dread the lectures. but we come
out of the classroom and we realize that the topic may have seemed to suck
before, but we are grateful to have learned what we did. and the world is
a more beautiful place because we understand it a little more.

sy from United States
Comment 12 of 93, added on May 22nd, 2005 at 7:21 AM.

The astronomer has learned about the stars and can only project his
learning. The poet experiences the 'experienceable unknown'-- as it is, in
silence, in its beauty.

Bhaswat Chakraborty from India
Comment 11 of 93, added on May 21st, 2005 at 6:24 PM.

I think that the poem demonstrates that opposites co-exist. There is a
dialectic tension between facts and intuition, thinkers and feelers,
introverts and extroverts, processors and deciders, knowing and
experiencing, observing and participating, classroom/book knowledge and
experiential learning.

Sandy from United States
Comment 10 of 93, added on March 24th, 2005 at 11:28 PM.

i think this poem had nothing to do with stars and astronomy at all, I
don't know how much we really know about Whitman himself, however I have
read that he was actually admittingly a homo-sexual. I feel that Whitman
felt trapped in a world, or "lecture-hall" busy and noisy, being taught how
to figure out and measure "diagrams" that he had no interest in. he felt
"tired and sick" but once he escaped all of that and entered his own
world, he was happy, leaving all behind

luis from United States
Comment 9 of 93, added on March 8th, 2005 at 8:17 PM.

i dont think this poem has to do with stars at all. i think Whitman was
trying to say that when you over analyze something it looses its true
beautiful. stars was just the example he used.

matt whitaker from United States
Comment 8 of 93, added on February 21st, 2005 at 1:30 PM.

I agree with the above commenst but would like to say that i think this is
an example of how a person can find beauty in the smaller less important
things in life and also how learing from experience and not just sitting in
a classroom hearing someone talk on a subject. i think it is better to have
your own experiences and not someone else's.

Nate from United States
Comment 7 of 93, added on February 1st, 2005 at 3:51 PM.

This poem has changed my life around it shows the beauty of the stars to
the world. I agree with the rest of the people above that has commented to
the poem. I will hold the book Leaves Of Grass true to my heart.

David Ozborn from United States
Comment 6 of 93, added on January 31st, 2005 at 2:10 AM.

What I believe Whitman expressed wondrously in this poem is the contrast
between the dry, sombre data of the astronomer's lecture and the feelings
of beauty, wonder and awe inspired by his sight of the heavens at night.

Teodoro Mertcado from United States
Comment 5 of 93, added on January 13th, 2005 at 8:38 PM.

The 2 ideas that are being contrasted in the poem are of the what the
astronomer had to say about the stars and what the speaker felt towards
nature. It is a technology vs nature poem and whitman clearly feels that
the stars should be appreciated in nature and by his or herself. It shows
it by its structure and subordination of the word "when" and his diction
with the speaker using "learn'd"

Claudia from United States
Comment 4 of 93, added on January 10th, 2005 at 5:08 PM.

okay lisa, i totaly agree with the second idea you said, it makes perfect
since seeing as how he mostly taught himself since his parents couldn't

Rebecca from United States

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Information about When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer.

Poet: Walt Whitman
Poem: 5. When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer.
Volume: Leaves of Grass
- 15. Songs of Parting
Year: 1900
Added: Feb 7 2004
Viewed: 32150 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 4 2011

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By: Walt Whitman

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