Walt Whitman is America's global poet, the modern equivalent of Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare. He honored democracy, nature, love, and friendship in Leaves of Grass (1855; 1891-2). This gigantic work sang accolades to both the body and the spirit, and it found beauty and reassurance even in death. The book became a landmark of the self-made American artist.
Whitman was a great revolutionary who helped make the United States what it is today. He fought for civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, and environmental protection. His poetry is taught in schools across the world because of its significance to society.
Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, in Long Island, New York. His parents were well-to-do farmers who owned their own land. When Walt was eight years old, his father died, leaving the family with little money nor status. To make matters worse, the farm was lost due to Walt's mother's inability to pay the mortgage.
Walt Whitman sought revenge against society for its treatment of him by becoming one of the most influential poets of all time. During his lifetime, his poems were published only once, but they have since been compiled into several volumes.
Leaves of Grass was an attempt to create a "perfect poem" that would appeal to everyone, not just artists. It was meant to be read, not just studied.
Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819–March 26, 1892) was a notable American writer of the nineteenth century, and many commentators regard him as the country's finest poet. He is most known for his novel "Leaves of Grass," which he reworked and enlarged throughout his life. It is a work of American literature.
Whitman published several other books during his lifetime, including two volumes of poems, a book of essays, a biography of Shakespeare, and a collection of his own writings. But it was "Leaves of Grass" that made him famous. In 1973, the Library of Congress declared the book to be one of the five greatest achievements in American poetry since 1776. More than 100 years later, it remains an influential text today.
Whitman was born in West Hills, New York, the third child of William Whitman and Elizabeth Cochran. His father was a schoolteacher who died when Walt was eight years old. He was raised by his mother and three older siblings after her death from tuberculosis when he was nine. He attended local schools until age 16, when he entered what was then called Princeton College but is now known as Princeton University. There, under the guidance of Professor James McCosh, he learned to love the English language and to appreciate British literature.
After graduating in 1841, Whitman went to New York City where he worked as a printer's devil for a newspaper until the Civil War broke out.
Walt Whitman, full name Walter Whitman, (born May 31, 1819, West Hills, Long Island, New York, U.S.—died March 26, 1892, Camden, New Jersey), was an American poet, journalist, and essayist whose verse collection Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855, is regarded as a watershed moment in American literature. Whitman is best known for his often-repeated assertion, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness," which appears in his poem of the same title. His other well-known poems include O Captain! My Captain! , When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloomed, and Song of Myself.
He began publishing essays and poetry in local newspapers when he was still a young man. By the time he reached 30 years of age, he had become one of the most famous poets in America. In 1855, his book of poems, Leaves of Grass, was published. It was an immediate success and has never been out of print since its initial publication. The book helped to establish him as a major figure in American poetry. In addition to poetry, Whitman wrote essays, reviews, and political poems advocating freedom and equality for all Americans. He also traveled throughout Europe twice, visiting many countries including France, Germany, and Italy. Upon his return, he published Observations on France and Belgium (1857) and Return From France (1859).
Whitman was opposed to slavery and fought against it in his own way.
Grass Leaves Whitman's most famous work, the 12-poem collection Leaves of Grass (1855), took him a lifetime to perfect, and it stands today as a rhapsodic celebration of individuality, freedom, democracy, sexuality, and nationhood.
Leaves of Grass has been called America's first truly modern poetry collection, and it certainly belongs in such company. Its poems reflect on many topics including war, love, nature, and society, and they display an innovative use of language and form. They are also revolutionary in their time because they subvert traditional hierarchies of gender and age, embrace the equality of men and women, and celebrate sexual freedom.
Whitman was a major influence on later poets from Ezra Pound to Allen Ginsberg. His emphasis on spontaneity and his rejection of conventional rhyme and meter influenced modernists like T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence, who were both friends with him. He has been cited as an influence by numerous other writers and artists, including Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Andy Warhol.
Although he was never officially ordained, Whitman became a minister in 1866 when he joined the New York City-based Church of the Heavenly Rest. He originally intended to be a preacher but soon realized that preaching required ordination, so he decided to become a priest instead.
Whitman added the title "Poem of Walt Whitman, an American" to the second edition of Leaves of Grass, which was published in 1856. This title recalls Section 24 of the poem, where he defines himself as "Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos." So far as we know, no other poet has made reference to themselves as a kosmos - a term that means "world soul" or "all-ruling principle" and is often used by poets to describe their role.
Whitman may have chosen this title to emphasize that his poems were written by one who was universal in scope but also unique individually. He wanted people to know that these were not collections of generic poems about love, war, and death, but rather poems about each person as an individual. He also used the title to hint at the fact that his poems were growing out of what was known as the "American Renaissance," a period in which young Americans were writing in a free-thinking way about their country and its future.
Another possibility is that the title refers to the fact that leaves of grass are common to all living things and thus reflect how much humanity shares in a cosmic force.
Whitman did not want readers to think of his poems as having been written by just any old poet. Instead, he tried to project an image of being one of the "roughs" who had gone out into society to learn what it meant to be human.