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Walter Whitman

Walter Whitman, (1819 -1892) was born on this day May 31 in 1819 in West Hills, Long Island, he is one of the most influential American poets, often called the father of free verse. Whitman’s major poetry collection, ‘Leaves of Grass’, was first published in 1855 with his own money and became very famous. He believed there was an essential, dependent relationship between the poet and society, his work is prose like and broke the limits of poetic form as did his unusual imagery and subject matter, he gives earthy description to the ideas of love and sexuality.

He began writing ‘Leaves of Grass’, in 1850 and he continued editing it throughout his life, in the latter months of 1891, he prepared a final edition of Leaves of Grass, a version that has been nicknamed the “Deathbed Edition”. He wrote:

“at last complete—after 33 y’rs of hackling at it, all times & moods of my life, fair weather & foul, all parts of the land, and peace & war, young & old.”

Walt Whitman has been claimed as the first “poet of democracy” in the United States, a friend of Walt Whitman, Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, wrote:

“You cannot really understand America without Walt Whitman, without Leaves of Grass”

Delve into this work here:

Portrait of Whitman by Thomas Eakins 1887–88

Published by poetisatinta

I was born and live in rural North Wales (UK) and found poetry again after a lifetime, so grateful I did :)

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