Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman: Dissimilar Poets Establish Unique Writing Style

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Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman both were American poets who lived in the 19th century who strayed from the traditional style of writing poetry and formed their own individual style of writing which became the unique American style of poetry. Their lifestyles and writing styles were extremely different, as they shared little in common. The dissimilarities in these two poets are in the way they composed their poems and possibly in the content of the poems. Whitman established a unique style in the form of using free verse and Dickinson in her peculiar use of punctuation to establish her unique style of poetry.
Walt Whitman’s poems were written in free verse and very lengthy; Song of Myself is over thirteen thousand lines long and has 52 sections. The purpose of using free verse is for the author to create their own form and to emphasize certain words and sounds. Prior to this the author had fit the content into particular form of length and meter (College of the Canyons). Not only are his poems long but they are complex with lines of varying length and he often jumps from topic to topic. He writes from experience and often has Nature and Death as a theme. Emily Dickinson also frequently had death as a theme. Her poems are short, written in four line stanza with an ABCB rhyming scheme. They are lyrics, possibly hymns. An example of this is
“Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess--in the Ring--
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain--
We passed the Setting Sun--

Or rather--He passed us--

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...ng styles they were a force that changed the style of writing poetry in American by rejecting traditional writing techniques and developing their own style which is still influential today. Whitman is best known for his use of free verse and Dickinson is best known for her use of odd punctuation.

Works Cited

College of the Canyons. "Walt Whitman." 2011. TLC/College of the Canyons. Web Page. 11 December 2013. http://www.canyons.edu/offices/tlc/Handouts/PDFs/Free%20Verse.pdf

Dickinson, Emily. Baym, Nina, editor. The Norton Anthology: American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012. 1659-1706. Poem.

"Emily Dickinson." The Academy of American Poets. Emily Dickinson. 1997. Web Page. 11 December 2013. < http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/155>

Whitman, Walt. "Song of Myself." Baum, Nina, General Editor. Norton's Anthology of American Literature.

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