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Closing of Speech at NCTE: Dismiss whatever insults your own soul

Posted: 2010-11-18

At the November 2010 NCTE Convention in Orlando, I am speaking on Professionalism: Pedagogy and Politics. I will call on Walt Whitman to close my remarks.

This is from the preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855 and so far omitted from the Common Core Standards list of recommended texts.

The emphasis is added.



This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people,

take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men,

go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life,

re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul;

and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body





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