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A Biography of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman is one of the most celebrated poets in American History. He once called America the “Greatest Poem”. The egalitarianism expressed in his poetry is what drove his posthumous success. Coming from an agricultural family in Long Island New York, he dropped out of schooling at age 11 to help support his family. For years he worked as a printing devil for his local paper “The Patriot”. It was here he took on a passion for writing. Throughout his life he worked for various newspapers and printing companies until he used his resources to publish his own work. Some of his works include Life and Adventures of Jack Engle (1852) and Manly Health and Training (1858). It was Leaves of Grass (1855) that really shed light on his talent. He spent over 30 years revising this work up until his death. Famous poems include “O’ Captain! My Captain!” and “I Sing the Body Electric”. His poetry expressed an egalitarian view on race and gender, and for it’s time was highly controversial. The nature of his writing was natural and explicit, but gave equality and criticism for the ignorant facets of society during the time. Although these poems were inspiring, Whitman is not immune to criticism. Some argue that his work painted a portrait of America that was hierarchical. It’s also said that he was racist and was generally against abolitionism, which is surprising considering the wholesome content of his poetry. All in all, Walt Whitman continues to inspire many.

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