Last Wednesday was my birthday. I used the only gift I asked for, the only gift I got: a gift certificate at the local bookstore, Wind 'n Tide Books, to buy 2 editions of Leaves of Grass. I checked the Deathbed edition out of the local library some years ago. Now I have that and the recent 150th Anniversary Oxford edition, with an afterword by David S. Reynolds.
I've always been so impressionable, more like Polaroid-able, I've avoided other poets all this time. I'm shockingly poorly read, if you measure your reading by the numbers.
Reading Leaves of Grass the first time--I only skipped around--was like going out into an open expanse I never knew was there. It was a second-birth, from out of House poetry into boundless Field poetry.