Walt Whitm The First True American Poet Essay

Walt Whitm The First True American Poet Essay

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Walt Whitman is recognized today as one of America’s top 5 poets, next to Crane, Dickinson, Frost and Stevens, and is regarded as the first true american poet. His highly unique style of writing, theoretically caused by a form of spiritual illumination, created a new form of poetry now identified as free verse
Whitman was born May 31st, 1819 in West Hills, Long Island as the second of eight surviving children. Interestingly enough, 3 of his 5 brothers were named after various presidents, Andrew J Whitman, Thomas J Whitman and George W Whitman. His remaining brothers were Jesse Whitman and Edward Whitman, His Sister Mary Elizabeth Whitman was said to represent all the ideals that Walt wanted to believe in (LeMaster 786), while Hannah Louisa Whitman seemed to be the only family member who understood his writing. At the age of 4 Whitman and his family moved to Brooklyn, where he began to attend school until the age of 11. After the end of Whitman’s formal education, he began to work as an office boy for a father-son law firm who provided him with a library subscription, opening a whole new world of literary knowledge to Whitman.
After his career as a traveling school teacher came to its end, Whitman began working at the Daily Eagle. He had many pieces in the paper, but was mainly responsible for political sketches, however, his anti-slavery views and controversial work led to the termination of his job in 1848. At this time in his life Whitman began to write his first political poems as well as his first edition of Leaves Of Grass.
The first official copy of Leaves Of Grass was published in 1855, and due to the lasting influence left by Ralph Waldo Emerson on Whitman, he decided to mail a copy to Emerson, who then replied “I gree...


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...nces, but instead an empty abstractions or lists from “a newspaper morgue” (Roy Harvey, pg 155). Some feel Whitman 's poetry can be overly graphic when he speaks of the civil war, slavery and death. Others see this as American spirit, and dubbed Whitman’s work “the most natural work of American soil” (The Whitman Archive). Several political or war based poetry had been reviewed as celebrants of American material, and spiritual progress of the dynamic, open, productive new world. (Roy Harvey, pg 156)
Walt Whitman’s life came to an end after a series of health issues and suffering several strokes, in March of 1892. His unique topics and themes in his poetry, for example, sexuality, slavery, and women 's rights, as well as style created a form of poetry enjoyed world wide, and the legacy he created will continue to be equally appreciated by readers and poets alike.

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