Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman


Walt Whitman was a poet, journalist, essayist, and humanist during the romanticism era. He had a couple of different views in his works such as realism and transcendentalism. He was very influential in his poems and was known as “the father of free verse”. He had a large collection of poems and put them all into one group called Leaves of Grass. Many of these poems included a large amount of sexuality scenes and ideas.

Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in Long Island. At four, his family moved to Brooklyn, New York. Whitman was the second of nine children, his parents tought and inspired Quaker beliefs in Whitman. Soon after, Whitman took a job as an editor, and worked revsing and editing work. This in turn, led him to write poems in which he collected them in the book, Leaves of Grass. Walt Whitman was sometimes question about his sexual orientation, he passed away in March 26, 1892.

Whitman speaks of matters that are of real importance to all human beings, questions about, you know, the nature of death and about love and about sexuality and American democracy and the potential of democracy as a world movement. So all of those things have resonated with people.” (Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News, Los Angeles.) Walt Whitman is a household name, many people know who he is. He became a literary celebrity according to Karen Grigsby Bates, NPR News, Los Angeles. “When I first read Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" in college, I knew I had found a soulmate.”(Diane Ackerman, Author, “A Natural History of the Senses”)

Walt Whitman had many poems grouped in oone book called Leaves of Grass. It included; Song of Myself, I Sing the Body Electric, Out of the Cradel Endlessly Rocking, and in his later editions it also contained; Whitman's elegy to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd”. Whitman spent his entire life revising and making different copies of Leaves of Grass.

Romanticism in Whitman’s work
Romanticism is the romantic style or movement in literature and art, or adherence to its principles. Walt Whitman was declared as a romantic author because of the way he expressed romanticism in his literature. Walt Whitman was one with the poem, and the universe. All of Whitman’s literature showed different types of romanticism. He wrote about nature and his surroundings, in a dark manner, as most romantic writers did. Whitman believed that nature was the root of all things beautiful and portayed how he felt in his writing.

References Whitman, (1855) Leaves of Grass excerpts of poetry, such as: “When Lilacs Last in the Door-Yard Bloom’d”, or “Starting from Paumanok”
John Ashworth, Columbia University, Encyclopedia Americana, information on the life of Whitman from childhood to the days of his writing.
Ed Folsom, University of Iowa,
http://encarta.msn.com/text_761596671___0/American_Literature_Poetry.html, history of Walt Whitman, and the history of leave of grass.
http://www.bartleby.com, a complete or almost complete collection of Whitman’s writings of poetry and prose.
http://www.everypoet.com/Archive/poetry/Walt_Whitman/, another good source of the complete collection of Leaves of Grass.