West Texas: A Letter to Walt Whitman

Margaret Emma Brandl

Volume 4, Issue 2

Artist’s Statement

I began writing lyric letters to Walt Whitman sometime shortly after I discovered creative nonfiction. My letters then were equal parts moony and contemplative, with the idea of Walt Whitman—exuberant, effusive, grandiose, tender—standing in for the blog readers I wished I had (it was 2009!). In this video essay, I catch up with Walt Whitman after years without letters, describing and reflecting upon a landscape he’d only ever imagined—a landscape I’d never thought myself interested in before I ended up there. Like my early letters to Walt Whitman, this essay is about coming of age, finding certainty in your own choices, loving as an action verb, and learning to distinguish between streetlamps and the moon.