Whitman's only book of poetry was Leaves of Grass. Rather of publishing many collections of fresh poems, he edited and extended this one volume, so that the original edition of 12 poems grew into a huge book of about 400 pieces. The title poem was first printed in the New York Tribune on June 24, 1855.
Leaves of Grass was published without any formal notice or announcement, nor did it sell very well when it was released. It was not until later that Whitman gained recognition as an important American poet.
The poems in Leaves of Grass were written by Walt Whitman between the ages of 25 and 70. They deal with various subjects such as nature, humanity, love, and politics. Although most of the poems are written in free verse, there are also some traditional stanzas included.
Some critics have labeled Leaves of Grass as pornographic because of some of the images and words used by Whitman. However, others see great value in this book because it challenges conventional wisdom at the time it was written. Today, Leaves of Grass is regarded as one of the founding documents of modern poetry. It has been called "a great explosion of energy and enthusiasm" for poetry.
Whitman was a major figure in the development of modern poetry.
Walt Whitman was an American poet whose poem collection "Leaves of Grass" is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of American literature. He is often called the father of modern poetry because of his innovative use of free verse, his interest in every aspect of human existence, and his emphasis on the individual rather than society as the subject matter for poems.
Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in Port Royal, South Carolina. His parents were both from Northern Ireland, and they moved to America when he was only eight years old. He grew up in New York City and received some education at an informal private school run by two friends of his family. At the age of 21, he went to live with an uncle in Washington State, where he worked as a teacher for several years. In 1846, Whitman returned to New York City and started writing poems, articles, and reviews. Some of his famous poems include "O Captain! My Captain!" (written for a naval officer who died during the Mexican-American War), "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" (a tribute to a friend who had died), and "O Wandering Life" (about the pain of love and loss).
In 1855, he self-published Leaves of Grass, a book that included his image but not his name. He edited the book several times, adding and reworking poetry as he went. The final version was not fixed until months after Whitman's death, when his friend and business partner John Greenough added an appendix explaining some changes that had been made.
Whitman used the money he earned from sales of Leaves of Grass to support himself and his family during these years. In 1861, he joined the United States Army as a surgeon and spent three years at war sites across America. When he returned home in 1864, he found that many people were interested in what he had to say. Thus, he began publishing essays under the name Walt Whitman. These poems, which focused on American values such as freedom and democracy, became very popular.
During this time, Whitman also worked with other poets to establish two magazines that still exist today: Poetry and The Nation. From 1866 to 1868, he served as its editor.
In 1872, Whitman married Harriet Hosmer, a famous sculptor. They had one son together who survived past infancy. In 1876, Whitman published his collected poems as Poems of Universal Appeal. Two years later, he released another collection of poems called Drums Along the Hudson.