Essay by kbs27534High School, 11th gradeB+, March 2014

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Kyra Smith

Mrs. Moyer

AP English


Walt Whitman: A Great American Poet

Walt Whitman was one of the greatest American poets; he is considered to be one of the most influential and innovative poets of his time. He is known as "the father of free verse" due to the fact that all his poetry was written without any formal meter, structured stanzas, or rhyme schemes. Free verse was very new at this time, and nobody had written anything like it previously. He started the structure of what we call today modern poetry. Poetry would not be considered the same without great poets like Walt Whitman.

Whiteman was born on May 31, 1819 on Long Island, New York. He was the second child out of six children. Whitman stopped going to school at the age of 11 and began to start working to help provide income for his large family.

(bio.com) It was said that Whitman looked back on his childhood as an unhappy and unsure time due to his family's difficult economic class. (wikipedia.com) Throughout the course of his lifetime he had several different jobs that included working as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and he even volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War. He did all that as well as writing poetry that America had never seen before that time. Whitman published one of his most famous collections of poetry in 1855. (poets.com) He did this with his own money, and at that times this was a very brave investment. He continued to

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write and edit his poetry until his death. Towards the end of his life, he had a stroke and died in 1892 at the age of 72. (bio.com)

During his lifetime, there was great controversy about his poetry...