Born on May 31, 1819 in West Hills, Long Island, New York; Walter Whitman is considered one of the most influential poets in America. He is the second child of Walter and Louisa Whitman’s eight children. Walter was given the nickname Walt to distinguish him from his father. Walter started his life well off but had to sell his farmland; leaving the family struggling to regain some of their previous wealth. Walt often describes his childhood as nomadic and unhappy since he was being moved around for work opportunities for his father.
By the age of eleven Walt was pulled out of school to help bring in some income for his family. His first job was as an apprentice at a Long Island Patriot Newspaper where he first learned about the printing press and how to put words on paper. As he became more experienced Walt would even write some small articles or help with someone’s column. His very first article was published when he was twelve; in many interviews he would talk about the feeling he got when reading his first article. “How it made my heart double-beat to see my piece on the pretty white paper, in nice type.” This is a feeling that would remain with Walt throughout his later career. Journalism, however; was not what Walt wanted to do with his life. During his time as a journalist Walt developed some tiny habits which would been seen all throughout his writing. Writing for a newspaper made him very cautious about word spacing, how different words looked together, and the overall presentation of his work. After five years in the business it had clearly made an impact on Whitman and it was time for him to explore a new career path.
At Seventeen Walt moved back home, he went from job to job not really knowing what he wanted to do w...
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...s now Walt failed to receive any recognition when he was alive.
In 1873 Whitman suffered a serious stroke and had to move in with his brother in New Jersey. Even though his poetry was not yet popular 1,000 people showed up to his funeral when he finally passed. Over 100 after his death in 1975 an awards was established to recognize up and coming poets and their publication of their first book. The winning author gets published in the Louisiana State University Press, and the Academy buys copies of the book to distribute.
Olsom, Ed F, and Kenneth M. Price. "About Walt Whitman." About Walt Whitman. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.
Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.