“Sea-beauty! stretch’d and basking!” are the opening lines of Walt Whitman’s “Paumanok,” a poem that explores Long Island’s natural beauty, especially the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Whitman’s fascination with the natural water that surrounds Long Island comes from his knowledge of Jayne’s Hill, the highest point on Long Island. Whitman returned to Jayne’s Hill at least twice after moving from West Hills in 1823 with his family. He enjoyed the view that captured the woods, fields, and beaches of Long Island. He was known for venturing out from dawn to dusk taking in Long Island’s scenery with some food, water, and a good book in his hand. What better way to capture Whitman’s spirit than walking the same trail that he would have taken to get up to Jayne’s Hill and take in a few poems about Paumanok (how Whitman referred to Long Island).
Andrew Rimby is a Ph.D. Candidate in the English department at Stony Brook University. He researches nineteenth-century American and Victorian literature from a queer trans-Atlantic perspective. He is the 2019 inaugural recipient of the Guiliano Global Fellowship which allowed him to go to the British Library, in July, to look at the Lady Eccles Oscar Wilde collection. He is a 2019-2020 Public Humanities Fellow and a 2019 Stony Brook Graduate Fellow in the Arts, Humanities, and Lettered Social Sciences. Recently, he was on the organizing committee for International Whitman Week (IWW) which was held at NYU, in May 2019. At Stony Brook, he was on the organizing committee for the May 3 Whitman Bicentennial symposium where he spoke about Whitman’s homoerotic poetry.