For thousands of years the West has inculcated a "mind-body" or "soul-body" dichotomy. This is the idea that the body is inferior to the spirit, or consciousness. This dichotomy has given us religious ascetics who destroy their own bodies as well as sadism. In modern America it has given us a bizarre coyness and bashfullness to our own nudity.
In this poem by Walt Whitman, he glorifies the body as equal to the soul. The poem is a song to the body electric, or our bodies that vibrant with the music of poetry.
My guest, Alex Spenser of wordswithwings.com, and I had a really fun converse with verse with this poem. We also talked about the nature of art, how art affects our lives, the practicality of painting and poetry and literature.
At one point in the poem Whitman talks about sex and we could not help but discuss modern male/female relationships, particularly with regards to feminism.