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Walt Whitman

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Sophie Oshman

Mrs. Dubrow

Period 7

May 4th, 2004

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, born in 1819 to a family in Long Island, lived a very humble life before becoming a well known writer. He grew up in a community full of Quakers and followed religion very strictly as a child. Whitman loved reading the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson because he thought he related to Emerson's ideas and theologies which closely corresponded to his own. At the age of 35, Whitman published his first book, Leaves of Grass, which was so successful that it appealed to other known poets worldwide. His talent was a great surprise to many. Whitman's abilities as a poet were unknown because his previous job was working for a local newspaper from which he got fired for being an abolitionist. It is believed, however, that Whitman's inspiration came from his trip to New Orleans and New York. Whether it was a love affair or the great scenery from the countryside that truly inspired him is unknown; nevertheless this first book was the beginning to an exciting career. Whitman viewed himself as the first real American poet. His poetry was symbolic of freedom and democracy, as well as emotions and beliefs. Later editions of Leaves of Grass were published in 1856 and 1860. These editions were full of new poems as well as revised earlier ones. At this time, Whitman was the editor of a local newspaper, the Brooklyn Daily Times, in addition to helping is father in carpentry. It was in 1862 when he found out his brother was injured in the war and he traveled South to serve as a volunteer nurse to the military until 1867. During his time as a nurse, Whitman composed several war poems which were published in the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass. Before his death in 1892, Whitman noted in "A Backward



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