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Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, 1887
Walt Whitman, 1887

Born

Walter WhitmanMay 31, 1819 West Hills, New York, U.S.

Died

March 26, 1892 Camden, New Jersey, U.S.

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Walter Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.

Born in Huntington on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and—in addition to publishing his poetry—was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans . Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. When he died at age 72, his funeral became a public spectacle.

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Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch. - Walt Whitman

Some people are so much sunshine to the square inch.

Walt Whitman

happiness attitude
The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity. - Walt Whitman

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.

Walt Whitman

art
I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences. - Walt Whitman

I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.

Walt Whitman

art
The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves. - Walt Whitman

The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves.

Walt Whitman

beauty
I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best. - Walt Whitman

I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.

Walt Whitman

best god good
The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people. - Walt Whitman

The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.

Walt Whitman

best
Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. - Walt Whitman

Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.

Walt Whitman

best
I may be as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best. - Walt Whitman

I may be as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.

Walt Whitman

best god good
After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains. - Walt Whitman

After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains.

Walt Whitman

business nature politics
Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes. - Walt Whitman

Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.

Walt Whitman

cool
Nothing can happen more beautiful than death. - Walt Whitman

Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.

Walt Whitman

death
And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death. - Walt Whitman

And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death.

Walt Whitman

death
Freedom - to walk free and own no superior. - Walt Whitman

Freedom - to walk free and own no superior.

Walt Whitman

freedom
I have learned that to be with those I like is enough. - Walt Whitman

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.

Walt Whitman

friendship
I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends. - Walt Whitman

I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends.

Walt Whitman

funny
The future is no more uncertain than the present. - Walt Whitman

The future is no more uncertain than the present.

Walt Whitman

future