Walt Whitman

American Poet
Whitman was born in
New York and lived an
interesting life as a
printer, a teacher, a
journalist, a
carpenter and
eventually a field
nurse in the Civil War.
 He was an avid
reader, a friend and
admirer of Emerson,
and he eventually
produced some of the
most influential and
well known American
 He
lived, wrote, and
thought both before,
during, and after the
Civil War. SO……
 His work serves as an
bridgebetween the
al ideals of the early
1800s and the shifted
viewpoint on life that
predominated after the
Civil War.
 An
overall sense of
optimism and
enthusiasm for
democracy and the
American way of
life. (Again this is
in line with
and Romantic
 His
experience in the Civil
War brings an element of
real, sometimes horrible
experience that was
absent from most work at
the time.
 His style signified an
important departure from
previous forms of poetry
(which was often very
scripted and reliant on
certain forms).
 Free
Verse - unrhymed poetry that does not
follow any SET rhyme or meter. (It can rhyme
at times, but never in any set pattern)
 This
was new in American poetry, and it is
said that free verse mirrors the freedom of
Americans to pursue their own happiness.
 Cataloging:
lists in poems.
Whitman uses
cataloging to
build a sense of
universality and
commonality to
his work.
Fear of knowing the danger
Fear of falling
Fear of the worst case
Fear of what the doctor says
Fear of many months of
Fear of the unstable ankle
Fear of stepping back on
your board
Fear of doing it again
Fear of everyone watching
Fear of knowing the
possibilities out there
Fear of should I hold on or
should I bail
Fear of fear.
 Paradox:
statement that
appears to
contradict itself,
but it actually
adds meaning.
 Nobody
goes to
that restaurant,
it's too crowded.
 You
achieve your
goal only to find
out that it's not
what you wanted!
 Simile
 Metaphor
 Imagery
 “I
Hear America
 “When I Heard the
 From “Song of
 “A Sight in Camp
in the Daybreak,
Gray and Dim”
Answer the following
1. When did Walt
Whitman die?
2. Name two ways in
which his poetry
was innovative
and new to the
American Literary