Cal Poly Arts Award for Excellence in Original Work
Elijah (Eli) Williams won the 2014 Cal Poly Arts Award for Excellence in Original Work for his creative project titled “Dearest Comrade.”
Born out of Catherine Waitinas’ ENGL 449 seminar on Walt Whitman, “Dearest Comarde” is a collection of Eli’s original poems about the fraught relationship between nineteenth-century American poet Walt Whitman and his friend and lover, Peter Doyle. In addition to precisely rendered, historically accurate, and deeply empathetic poetry, the project includes Eli's narrative reflections and scholarly analyses of Whitman's work as it relates to Doyle's role in his life. "Dearest Comrade" dramatically and profoundly affects our understanding of the poet's vital relationship with Doyle, and it reveals much about Whitman's place in both literary history and the history of writings about love and sexuality in America. In addition, it showcases the kind of learn by doing project English majors create, either through coursework or through senior projects.