Comments by Dean Ritz

Comment for "Walt Whitman: Song of Myself"

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Review of Walt Whitman: Song of Myself

An engraved invitation to read Whitman. For that reason alone this piece deserves praise and airtime. Even more deserved so because it is well produced, polished in sound, and wise in content.

That said, I do wish it made some distinction between the first edition and the deathbed edition of Leaves of Grass. The "death bed" edition is the edition most widely available. However, the first edition (available in a reprint from Penguin) offers more magic per word and a greater emotional velocity. It is that edition which more clearly connects to transcendentalism. It is that edition whose 150th anniversary is upon us.

Also, by distinguishing between the two termination points of his work -- its first publication, and then its final -- it puts poetry into contemporary and immediate utility. How? That it evolved over time suggests how our lives can be poetry because our journals can be poetry.

Whitman kept public this journal of his. It is a model for us, as inspiration for those of us who came into this world long after his body's departure.

Comment for "My Lobotomy"

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Review of My Lobotomy

How can something so disturbing be so beautiful? This is an old story: a man?s search for self. But the context is thoroughly modern. He is ?disabled? by a lobotomy. But this procedure committed upon him at the age of twelve perversely provides a driving force to his quest, and in the process this shadow over his life became a vehicle for his reconciliation with self. One cannot help but feel joy for him, inspired by but also slightly jealous of his success ? and the clarity of this shadow over his life ? a clarity commonly (and perversely) missing from many of us ?abled? persons.

I am disturbed that anyone could forcibly submit a twelve year-old boy to a medical procedure so uncertain in its specific consequence yet so certain in its permanence. The sad thing is that it ended not because of its results or because of the moral implication of its application to vulnerable persons but because psychotic drugs obsoleted the procedure.

It should also be noted that the production quality is very good. The opening tapestry of voices is very well done and would pull listeners in.

Somehow it reminds me of Dicken?s ?Christmas Story? because it gave me the gift of reflection and gratitude of life?s blessings. Perhaps it will do the same for other listeners. I hope they get a chance to hear it.