This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Walt Whitman: The American Poet Essay

1556 words - 6 pages

Walt Whitman was arguable one of the most influential poets during the Civil War era. Though never directly involved in war, Whitman was able to talk about the war in a more insightful way than many poets at the time could. Whitman was most active in writing during the times before and after the war, choosing to dedicate himself to helping wounded soldiers during the war instead. Walt Whitman’s poetry reflects the progression of his philosophy of America: his initial view of America was uplifting, represented in his Pre-Civil war poems and while the Civil War poetry presents the degradation of American society, Whitman’s final poetry returns to a realistic, optimistic view for America.
As Whitman, the specific individual, melts away into the abstract, “Song of Myself” explores the possibilities for communion between individuals. Whitman addresses the reader in a particularly direct manner. He integrates his reader into the poem, and is freed of the constraints of poetic principle and social etiquette. The poem presents entire body lounging on the ground, leaning and idling. Whitman deliberately conflates natural world and poetical world. “Song of Myself” goes beyond the boundaries of Transcendentalism in the relationship of the physical and spiritual, individual and universal. The self that Whitman cheerily sings and celebrates substantiates a ‘uniform hieroglyphic’: suggestive, multiform, and awash with inconsistency. “It is as much a physical presence as a projected spiritual possibility” (Jason 2). Even as it blatantly and fervently expresses Whitman’s faith in evolution (and therefore in the necessary indivisibility of self-reliance), “Song of Myself” also conveys a separation with the “self,” the poet himself, and the country, both socially and politically. It offers a Transcendentalist solution to the disaster of union that would lead to a Civil War merely BLANK YEARS LATER. Whitman suggests that to truly experience the world, one must be fully in it and of it, yet unattached enough from it to have some perspective, and invisible enough not to hinder it excessively. This paradoxical set of conditions describes the poetic standpoint Whitman undertakes.
TO A STRANGER
Written in ???, “Song of the Open Road” is iconic, for it addresses American mobility, agitation, and a love of freedom and open spaces. The poem commences with the first-person narrator setting out on a “long brown path.” The journeyman is “afoot and light-hearted,” for he is through with the monotony, routines, customs, and safe behaviors of his previous life, “done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms.” He relinquishes a life dedicated to the conventional quest of materialistic success: “henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune” (Whitman). The first person narrator dominates the poem, and connects its subjects and arguments. The role of this dramatic personality and the ideology it has to offer are undividable, for the...

Find Another Essay On Walt Whitman: The American Poet

In the Eyes of Walt Whitman

1010 words - 4 pages IN THE EYES OF WALT WHITMAN.The unique path that Walt Whitman followed during the American Civil War (1861-1865) led to an insightful record that captures the turmoil of this era on an intimate level. Like all transformational events in history one must examine the literature of the time to reach an understanding of the effects on common people. Whitman is generally regarded as the greatest American poet. This essay will show the many themes in

The Poetry of Walt Whitman versus William Carlos Williams

2790 words - 11 pages The Poetry of Walt Whitman versus William Carlos Williams Perhaps the most basic and essential function of poetry is to evoke a particular response in the reader. The poet, desiring to convey on emotion or inspiration, uses the imagination to create a structure that will properly communicate his state of mind. In essence he is attempting to bring himself and the reader closer, to establish a relationship. William

Egalitarianism in The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

1234 words - 5 pages Within Walt Whitman’s works he expresses his egalitarianism or belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, social, or economic life in his epic book called the leaves of grass. His strong point of view in the poem I Sing the Body Electric is expressed through sexuality, body attributes, political views. In the poem of I sing the body electric Walt Whitman expresses many qualities upon the body. It is as if he almost prizes

“Walt Whitman: Appreciation of the Human Body Through Poetry”

1221 words - 5 pages Angelica AtwoodD. SalterAP English 1129 March 2013"Walt Whitman: Appreciation of the Human Body Through Poetry"Leaves of Grass, a collection of poems written by Walt Whitman has received much praise and protest over the century. It is known for its vulgarity, bluntness, and beauty. Many of Whitman's poems were considered sexual or could have been interpreted as sexual. The intense sexuality in these words can and does show his true appreciation

The Life of Walt Whitman: An Exploration in the Poet's Spirituality and Works.

2612 words - 10 pages Many a student has decried various types of poetry for its form and structure while enjoying the free verse works of poets such as T. S. Elliot and Robert Frost. Students, however, frequently neglect the Civil War era poet Walt Whitman who is, to this day, considered the Father of free verse. While Whitman did not invent free verse, he secured its role in the American psyche. Even with his accomplishments, Whitman's life was not without trials

The Powerful Use of Imagery and Metaphor in a Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

647 words - 3 pages The heart of poetry is in its imagery, which leads the reader to perceive all of the senses the poet was feeling – the sights, sounds, scents, touches. A poet uses imagery to evoke these emotions in the reader to paint a mental picture – to “show” the reader the experience that inspired the poet, not just “tell” the story. In “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” Walt Whitman’s use of metaphor and powerful imagery emphasizes the speaker’s own

Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman contrast in the ways of their different writing structure, subject tone, and topics discussed in the majority of their published works

787 words - 3 pages "Walt Whitman in contrast to Emily Dickinson"Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson were both great American poets of the 19th century. Aside from this, however, the two had very few in common. Without even going into their almost polar opposite personal lives, and concentrating solely upon their writings, one can still see the incredible diversity of American culture. Their views were different. Their beliefs were different. Their writing styles were

This essay compares Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson in their style of writing as well as their lives and the subjects of their poems

711 words - 3 pages and their writing. Walt Whitman wrote for the enjoyment of others, unlike Dickinson. The subjects of their poems are different, because generally Whitman's poems are political and Dickinson's are usually religious.The atmosphere in which they lived probably contributed to their writing because Whitman wrote about his traveling and Dickinson wrote about death and seclusion which she understood more than most. The forms each poet used are different as well. The rhyme in the poetry by Whitman is drastically different from the poetry written by Dickinson, because Whitman didn't use any rhyme.

Civil War heroes including Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, and Walt Whitman. Description of their influence on the war and their occupations

554 words - 2 pages experience. Some people who expressed emotion through their writings or opinions are Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, and Robert E. Lee.Frederick Douglass, a former slave who had escaped to freedom in his early twenties. His desire for freedom came early to him. He was a literate man who read a lot and expanded his mind. He became a huge part in the abolitionist and black civil rights movement. Douglas believed that "the American people must

Robert Lee Frost: The Most Influential American Poet of the Twentieth Century

1899 words - 8 pages "Don't ever take a fence down, until you know why it was put up"- a quote from Robert Lee Frost, a well-known American and English poet. Following the death of his father he faced many challenges, including failing to finish college and many unsuccessful jobs. Shadowing his father and mother, he began a career in poetry. With his literary career failing, he and his family moved to England and then back to America a few years later. His success

The Life and Work of Richard Wilbur: a Great American Poet

1201 words - 5 pages Robert Bly, James Wright, Louis Simpson, and Barbara Howes. Afterleaving Wesleyan he went to Smith College as a writer-in-residence(UniversityPress of Florida, 1996). He stopped teaching and while still writing originalpieces Richard Wilbur began translation in 1955. He translated works from poetslike Moliere, Racine, and Leonard Bernstien; from French, Spanish, and Russianinto English. In order to be called a great American poet one would have to

Similar Essays

Walt Whitman: The American Poet Essay

993 words - 4 pages example of an epic poem. Finally, there are three themes that start in this poem and continue to the end. He talks about first celebrating yourself at all times, even in the good and bad, how we need to be prepared for the journey of life, and finally, reveling inSmith, 4the beauty of nature. Whitman did not use any devices in his poetry because free verse has no formal meter or rhythm.In all, Walt Whitman was one of the greatest American poets. He

The Life Of Walt Whitman Essay

1512 words - 7 pages found out that Walt Whitman was indeed a born to be writer. Walt published the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855. 36 years after the first appearance of the poem was the ninth and final edition, which was published in 1891 (Holt Rine Hart and Winston 362). R.W Emerson, a writer himself, thought Leaves of Grass was wonderful and it influenced himself. He realized that Walt is a great American poet (Walt, Whitman). Not just Emerson but also

The Life Of Walt Whitman Essay

1350 words - 6 pages Walt Whitman's life is the story of a young man's journey to become the great americian poet that he set out to be. It was a life of struggle and adversity. While we all know too well how it feels to be judged for what or how we believe, Whitman didn't let it scare him off easily. He had strong beliefs and stood his ground for what he believed in, no matter what names he was called or what people said about him. In his writtings and his

The Significance Of Walt Whitman Essay

810 words - 3 pages Christopher Taylor Taylor 1Marnie GlazierIntroduction to Literature - Short Paper #3March 18, 2014The Significance of Walt WhitmanArguably regarded as one of America's most influential and innovative poets, Walt Whitman played a vital role in America's transition from the practice of old literary conventions borrowed from Europe to the emerging American style of writing. Furthermore, due to America's state of being different both politically and