Walter "Walt" 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 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 ... more »
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Walt Whitman Poems
O Captain! My Captain!
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
A Clear Midnight
THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless, Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done, Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best.
A child said, What is the grass?
A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it is any more than he.
A Noiseless Patient Spider
A noiseless, patient spider, I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
A GLIMPSE, through an interstice caught, Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room, around the stove, late of a winter night--And I unremark'd seated in a corner;
A Child's Amaze
SILENT and amazed, even when a little boy, I remember I heard the preacher every Sunday put God in his statements,
COME, I will make the continent indissoluble; I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon; I will make divine magnetic lands,
ARM’D year! year of the struggle! No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year! Not you as some pale poetling, seated at a desk, lisping cadenzas piano;
A Woman Waits For Me
A WOMAN waits for me--she contains all, nothing is lacking, Yet all were lacking, if sex were lacking, or if the moisture of the right man were lacking.
All Is Truth
O ME, man of slack faith so long! Standing aloof--denying portions so long; Only aware to-day of compact, all-diffused truth;
HOLD it up sternly! See this it sends back! (Who is it? Is it you?) Outside fair costume--within ashes and filth, No more a flashing eye--no more a sonorous voice or springy step;
A Riddle Song
THAT which eludes this verse and any verse, Unheard by sharpest ear, unform'd in clearest eye or cunningest mind, Nor lore nor fame, nor happiness nor wealth, And yet the pulse of every heart and life throughout the world
A Promise To California
A PROMISE to California, Also to the great Pastoral Plains, and for Oregon: Sojourning east a while longer, soon I travel toward you, to remain,
Quotationsmore quotations »
''Rugged, mountainous, volcanic, he was himself more a French revolution than any of his volumes.''Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Specimen Days (Feb. 10, 1881).
''I will put in my poems, that with you is heroism, upon land and seaAndWalt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Starting From Paumanok, sct. 7.
I will report all heroism from an American point of view.''
''And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death.''Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Starting From Paumanok, sct. 13.
''I never see that man without feeling that he is one to become personally attach'd to, for his combination of purest, heartiest tenderness, and native western form of manliness.''Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. "The Inauguration," March 4, 1865, Specimen Days and Collect (1882).
''The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.''Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Leaves of Grass, preface (1855).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
O Captain! My Captain!
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills; 10
For you bouquets and ...