Walt Whitman

American Poet

Walt Whitman was known as America's world poet

Walt Whitman, along with Emily Dickinson, is known to be one of America's most influential poets of the nineteenth century. He earned the knicknames, "Poet of Democracy" and "America's Shakespeare." His writing expressed democracy, nature, love and friendship. He was also influenced by suffering he witnessed as a nurse to Civil War soldiers.

Walt Whitman's Early Life

Walt Whitman was born May 31, 1819. He grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. When he was just twelve years old, Walt began to learn about the printing business, mainly by teaching himself while he worked as an apprentice for a Long Island newspaper. At the age of 17, Walt became a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse and taught until 1841, when he became a full time journalist. Walt worked as a publisher and editor for many newspapers.

Publisher and Poet

With his own money, Walt Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855. It had twelve poems. He sent a copy to the famous poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who loved it so much, his letter to Walt was included in the second edition.

caring for the wounded

During the Civil War, Walt visited wounded soldiers at the New York hospitals. Later, when he moved to Washington, D.C. to take care of his mother and brother, he decided to stay and work in the hospitals, caring for wounded soldiers. For most of his life, Walt did not have much money to live on, but when he did have some extra money, he would spend it on supplies for the patients in the hospital.