Walt Whitman Life and Poetry

Essay by bg5sosHigh School, 10th gradeA+, July 2014

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Rebecca Green

Ms. Hughes

Honors English II

27 / 03 / 2014

Walt Whitman: One of America's Greatest Poets

The poet I chose to research was Walt Whitman, one of America's greatest poets. The three poems I chose were "Beat! Beat! Drums!" "O'Captain! My Captain!", and "A Noiseless Patient Spider." I decided to do these three poems mostly because they are three of his better known and more popular poems. Also, two of them have references to the civil war. The poems by Walt Whitman that I chose to analyze are "Beat! Beat! Drums!", "O'Captain! My Captain!", and "A Noiseless Patient Spider."

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, in Long Island, New York. Whitman lived during the Transcendentalist Era and the civil war. He attended District School One, but was not a good student. Whitman's father was a carpenter and taught him carpentry when he was young.

At age eleven, he worked as an errand boy in a Brooklyn law firm. He got to deliver messages to Aaron Burr on occasion. After reading some of Sir Walter Scotts work, Whitman said that it was the first time that poetry had actually meant something to him. His family constantly moved back and forth between Long Island and Brooklyn.

Whitman never married. Whitman held and lost many writing and editorial jobs for many different newspapers. He also wrote, edited, and rewrote his most famous work Leaves of Grass. He didn't earn any awards for his work. During his time, a lot of his work was seen as inappropriate. But Whitman changed poetry as they knew it. Before him everybody followed iambic meter; whereas Whitman used free verse. He also influenced Langston Hughes. He died on March 26, 1892.

"O' Captain! My Captain!"

The speaker...