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Love, Walt: Love, Simon

April 9, 2018

Love, Walt: Love, Simon


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My love for Walt Whitman began in my freshman year of college. I lugged around a tattered copy of Leaves of Grass, and my impressions of Walt Whitman speaking to me then are so clear that I remember him as another English major, like me, or maybe a theater major, like all of my friends. It seems that he met us underneath the Tree of Knowledge after class, just like those other misfits, grunge kids and dramatic types who tend to meld together given the opportunity. I can kind of laugh now at our engagement with both hacky sacks and plans to bust the hierarchy.  In the early 1990s, when Love, Simon and Walt Whitman's sexuality would have felt revolutionary, we bolstered ourselves with lines like, “I have learned that to be with those I like is enough,” and “I exist, as I am, and that is enough.” You have to give us some slack on our melodrama, but we were in a Catholic college and spent our days reading, writing and creating, so we felt entitled to our whimsy and occasional subversiveness. Meeting Walt Whitman was an awakening of identity in me that has shaped the course of my adult life. I swore then that I would see myself as enough, no matter the circumstance, and that I’d see others that way too—enough, no matter their religious, sexual or political preferences. Later, as a teacher, it became my mission to help all students see that they are enough, no matter.

Photo credit: By BRFZ1 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Amber Chandler
  Amber Chandler is a National Board Certified middle school ELA teacher in Hamburg, New York with a Master’s Degree in Literature, as well as a School Building Leader certification. She is the 2018 Association for Middle Level Educators’ “Educator of the Year.”  Amber has enjoyed a wide variety of... See More

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