“Several prolonged times when close to death,” he [Bloom] writes, “I have recited Whitman to myself as medicine. . . . He has healed me and goes on helping me to get through many sleepless nights of anxiety and pain.” It is this image of Bloom chanting Whitman aloud in a dark room as a talisman against the depredations of illness that lingers when the book’s covers are closed.
We don't hear enough about Whitman as healer.
Late in 1958 when I was recovering from tuberculosis, working from 8 at night till 4 in the morning as a telegrapher on the Kansas City Southern in Port Arthur, taking an overload of classes at Lamar State University of Technology in Beaumont, still reeling from the great tragedy to the family in the spring, desperate for sleep, I very deliberately made time to read Song of Myself aloud to myself in the cavernous KCS Freight House late at night. I was healed enough to continue. Whitman does not discriminate.
How I taught Whitman starting 15 October 1987: