Saturday, July 5, 2008


Born: May 31, 1819
West Hills, New York
Died: March 26, 1892
Camden, New Jersey
American poet

Walt Whitman is generally considered to be the most important American poet of the nineteenth century. He wrote in free verse (not in traditional poetic form), relying heavily on the rhythms of common American speech.
Childhood and early career

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, in West Hills, Long Island, the second of nine children. His family soon moved to Brooklyn, where he attended school for a few years. Young Whitman took to reading at an early age. By 1830 his formal education was over, and for the next five years he learned the printing trade. For about five years, beginning in 1836, he taught school on Long Island; during this time he also founded the weekly newspaper Long-Islander.

By 1841 Whitman was in New York City, where his interests turned to journalism. His short stories and poetry of this period were indistinguishable from the popular work of the day, as was his first novel, Franklin Evans, or the Inebriate (1842). For the next few years Whitman edited several newspapers and contributed to others. He was dismissed from the Brooklyn Eagle because of political differences with the owner. In 1848 he traveled south and for three months worked for the New Orleans Crescent. The sheer physical beauty of the new nation made a vivid impression on him, and he was to draw on this experience in his later poetry


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