Partner Walt Whitman

Queer Places:
Congressional Cemetery Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA

Peter Doyle (June 3, 1843 - April 19, 1907) may be the most likely candidate for the love of Walt Whitman's life.[134][135][136] Doyle was a bus conductor whom Whitman met around 1866, and the two were inseparable for several years. Interviewed in 1895, Doyle said: "We were familiar at once—I put my hand on his knee—we understood. He did not get out at the end of the trip—in fact went all the way back with me."[137] In his notebooks, Whitman disguised Doyle's initials using the code "16.4" (P.D. being the 16th and 4th letters of the alphabet).[138] Oscar Wilde met Whitman in America in 1882 and told the homosexual-rights activist George Cecil Ives that Whitman's sexual orientation was beyond question —"I have the kiss of Walt Whitman still on my lips."[139] The only explicit description of Whitman's sexual activities is secondhand. In 1924, Edward Carpenter told Gavin Arthur of a sexual encounter in his youth with Whitman, the details of which Arthur recorded in his journal.[140][141][142] Late in his life, when Whitman was asked outright whether his "Calamus" poems were homosexual, he chose not to respond.[143] The manuscript of his love poem "Once I Pass'd Through A Populous City", written when Whitman was 29, indicates it was originally about a man.[144]

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