Walt Whitman, whose fame as an American poet has only increased since his death in 1892, was born in Long Island, New York, in 1819. His involvement with the written word began at the age of 11 when he quit school to become a printer's devil. He later worked as a schoolteacher on Long Island and as an editor of both the Brooklyn Eagle and the New Orleans Crescent. His most famous work, Leaves of Grass, was published in 1855 at his own expense and was derided by critics for its subject matter as well as for its use of blank verse (which was not appreciated in an age devoted to rhyme and meter).
In 1862, Whitman journeyed south to what he called "the secession warfields" to serve as a nurse in Union field hospitals. Much of what he experienced during his three-year stint in the medical corps found its way into his poetry, even in his later years.
"Ashes of Soldiers" || "The Artilleryman's Vision" || "A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim" || "As I Lay with My Head in Your Lap Camerado" || "Bivouac on a Mountain Side" || "Come Up From the Fields, Father" || "O Captain! My Captain!" || "A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road Unknown" || "Beat! Beat! Drums!" || "Virginia -- The West" || "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd"
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Last modified 16-April-2001