Walt Whitman (1819
West Hills, New York, United States
"I hear America singing, the
varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be
blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the
deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter
singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the
morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife
at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day--at night the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs."
- Walt Whitman "I hear America
Walt Whitman is considered to be one of
America's most prominent poets. He was born into a Quaker
family and attended public school in Brooklyn. Before writing,
he worked as a compositor and a teacher. He was also a newspaper
editor for periodicals such as The Brooklyn Eagle. From
1850 to 1855, Whitman took his writing more seriously and
he published his first edition of Leaves of Grass. Over
the next few years, Whitman continued to write and briefly
returned to journalism. During the American Civil War he
tended wounded soldiers in army hospitals in Washington,
D.C., while working as a copyist in the army paymaster's
office. Following the war Whitman worked for the Department
of the Interior and then as a clerk at the Justice Department.
He remained in this position until he suffered a paralytic
stroke in 1873. Although he lived nearly twenty more years
and published four more editions of Leaves of Grass,
Whitman produced little significant new work following his
stroke. He died in Camden, New Jersey, at age 72. Some literary
techniques he used included free verse, cadence, repetition,
onomatopoeia, and parallel structure. He also included American
slang or even made up words. Whitman was ahead of his time
as he also included minority groups in his works such as
Indians and women, which was rarely done.
Leaves of Grass (1855) First edition.
Leaves of Grass (1856) Second edition.
Leaves of Grass (1860) Third edition.
Drum Taps (1865)
Sequel to Drum Taps (1865)
Leaves of Grass (1867) Fourth edition.
Leaves of Grass (1870) Fifth edition.
Passage to India (1870)
Leaves of Grass (1876) Centennial edition.
Leaves of Grass (1881) Sixth edition.
Leaves of Grass (1891) "Deathbed" edition.
Good-Bye, My Fancy (1891)
Franklin Evans; or, The Inebriate (1842)
Democratic Vistas (1871)
Memoranda During the War (1875)
Specimen Days and Collect (1881)
November Boughs (1888)
Complete Prose Works (1892)
Life and Works of Whitman - http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/whitman/
The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. New York: Columbia University
Press, July 2001. www.bartleby.com/65/.
The Academy of American Poets. 2001. http://www.poets.org/poets/poets.cfm?prmID=127&CFID=2625050&CFTOKEN=80611045