Walt Whitman holds a timbre that is sacred to the poetry of America. He is a figure that will remain a part of our society until the world no longer spins. He set a plague of poetry on American culture that has captivated us all and has changed the English perspective on life and nature. Walt Whitman, an American poet in the nineteenth-century, for the first time broke free from the iambic pentameter and switched to his own style, which brought to life his abstract form and history on national subjects.
The hardships he struggled with during his miserable childhood formed his unique style of writing and produced an idea of love and eroticism that has never been explained. His unusual subjects and diction, always to be said aloud (Oliver 314), brought images to the minds of many for the first time, beginning the American poetry revolution. His name used to carry an unholy resonance and have an apocalyptic power over the American people, but now in today's time he is known as America's best. When someone is born they have a calling, and may not figure out what there calling is until later in there life but some find it in the simplest things.
For instance, one man born on the 31st of May 1819 discovered what he loved by only a piece of plastic. A library card, which sound simple but can open eyes to the biggest and most advanced ideas in the world. This library card created one of the greatest poets of all time, Walt Whitman.
(Kerley 45) He was the son of Walt Whitman Sr. who was a carpenter and never had a steady payroll, which lead to his families roaming of New York.His mother was Louisa Van Velsor. She loved Walt unconditionally, however was not literate so she was never able to understand his poetry.
In his early years he moved to Brooklyn, where he spends most of this childhood (poemhunter). His childhood was not the greatest due to his family's literacy and handicaps. Four of his brothers and sisters had disorders and due to that his parents paid more attention to his siblings.One writer tells his opinion. "His biographers cannot give us a clear image of his childhood which was certainly rather miserable.
His numerous siblings had mostly melancholy life histories. Madness, retardation, marriage to a prostitute, depressiveness and hypochondria figure among their fates. The extraordinary obsession with the health and cleanliness that oddly marks Whitman's poetry had a poignant origin in his early circumstances…Perhaps the most crucial fact about Whitman's psyche we know well enough; he needed, quite early, to become a true father to all his siblings, and perhaps of his mother also." (Bloom 3)At age eleven, Walt was taken out of school to support his family, and by doing so learned the printing trade where he fell in love with writing.
He began studying books and by seventeen was a teacher. He taught until the early 40's when he decided to switch to journaling as a full time job. He founded a newspaper in Brooklyn called "free soil." However during the 40's he kept writing poetry and during the 50's developed his own unique style of writing. Ralph Waldo Emerson was the first to recognize Whitman, and in 1855 his first book was published.
Its' title is "Leaves of Grass" which now has nine editions. The ninth or "deathbed edition" was published in 1892, the same year of his death. However before death he was paralyzed by a stroke and moved to Camden, New Jersey, where he spent the rest of his life (Oliver 3-25).This man lived through the civil war, abolitionism, and some of the greatest inventions of all time. His entire life changed the way he wrote, and due to his childhood some of his poems were melancholy. And because of historical happenings Whitman was granted many more topics to write on.
Without the period of life Whitman lived in he would not have been the same writer by any means. Whitman was not born into greatness, but he still achieved it through hard work and time. He attained his goals by changing the people's perspectives. He not only did this by his content but by his style. His style was called "free verse" or "freestyle, which was not a rhyming technique.
His poems may not have rhymed, but they still flowed flawlessly. One writer says, "He largely abandoned the metrical structures of European poetry for an expansionist freestyle verse—"irregular" but "beautifully rhythmic (quotes-of-wisdom.eu). His style was abstract and could only be understood by the best. His poems may have stories on them, but when looking deep down there is a bigger picture that the world is missing.
For instance he loved national issues, like abolition and the civil war, yet in his poems he never seemed to write about them. Until one person looks in between the lines and figures out the symbolization that it is referring to.Also all people.