Poets of the American Revoluion

By: Lauren, Lexi, Shivam, Johnny, and Zaid

Philip Freneau (1752-1832) -Lauren Onstott

Philip was influenced by both political situation of the time era and the active life he led. Freneau’s poetry covers a wide variety of subjects like the political situation, American Indians, Nature, the sea, and naval battles. His political poems are usually bitter, but his nature poetry is marked by lyricism and observation of the details of American landscape. His work shows some of characteristics of Romanticism. Especially in its close attention to and feeling for nature. Philip was torn between his involvement in the social turmoil of the era he lived in and the more lonely life of writing. After he graduated he wrote a series of satires that were against British. In 1776 he traveled to West Indies where he wrote largely about what was around him. By 1790 Philip published two collections of poetry. He established a newspaper after being encouraged by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It was called the National Gazette and it promoted Thomas Jefferson’s principles. In the early 1800s he retired to his farm to write poetry and essays.

("Philip Freneau.")

Phillis Wheatley -Shivam Jaiswal

Phillis was enslaved at the age of eight and brought to Boston as a slave. Her maters thought her how to read and write. Then she saw her interest in poetry and started writing. While yet in her teens, Phillis Wheatley became the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry, and the third woman in the American colonies to do so. That book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, became controversial twice.

Wheatley’s poems reflected several influences on her life. Women in an African-American tribal group who practiced oration influenced her to write in a style that is known as elegiac poetry. Wheatley’s education in Latin influenced her to write in a short epic style. Some of her most popular poems were “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty” and “To the University of Cambridge in New England”. This made her famous in United States and England.

William Blake -Zaid Albarmawi

William Blake was a nonconformist whose works and ideas was associated with some radical thinkers such as Thomas Paine. He preferred to use imagination in his works rather that reason boiling that things should be constructed from inner visions rather than observation from environments. He believed that his poetry could be read by common people and worked hard not to let his work lose its creative imaginative factor in order to become popular.

Joel Barlow -Lexi Muraga

Joel Barlow is an American diplomat, politician, and poet. Barlow was born in Redding, Conneticut on March 24, 1754. He obtained his education with a local minister due to his large family and their farm. His father managed to put Barlow into Moo'rs Indian School, which is now Dartmouth. Late his father died so he had to attend school near home with his family. Barlow's interest in poetry began in his college years when he enrolled at Yale College. After graduating from Yale Barlow was a part of the Revolutionary War, which he continued to writing his poetry. During the American Revolution, Barlow created his most famous work The Vision of Columbus. Barlow was known to be one of the first writers to speak of Columus' sucess coming to the America's and the success of the American Revolution (American National Biography Online).

Walt Whitman - Johnathan Fink

Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was the second son of Walter Whitman, a housebuilder, and Louisa Van Velsor. The family, which consisted of nine children, lived in Brooklyn and Long Island in the 1820s and 1830s.

At the age of twelve, Whitman began to learn the printer's trade, and fell in love with the written word. Largely self-taught, he read voraciously, becoming acquainted with the works of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and the Bible.

Whitman worked as a printer in New York City until a devastating fire in the printing district demolished the industry. In 1836, at the age of seventeen, he began his career as teacher in the one-room school houses of Long Island. He continued to teach until 1841, when he turned to journalism as a full-time career.

He founded a weekly newspaper, Long-Islander, and later edited a number of Brooklyn and New York papers. In 1848, Whitman left the Brooklyn Daily Eagle to become editor of the New Orleans Crescent. It was in New Orleans that he experienced firsthand the viciousness of slavery in the slave markets of that city. On his return to Brooklyn in the fall of 1848, he founded a "free soil" newspaper, the Brooklyn Freeman, and continued to develop the unique style of poetry that later so astonished Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In 1855, Whitman took out a copyright on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, which consisted of twelve untitled poems and a preface. He published the volume himself, and sent a copy to Emerson in July of 1855. Whitman released a second edition of the book in 1856, containing thirty-three poems, a letter from Emerson praising the first edition, and a long open letter by Whitman in response. During his lifetime, Whitman continued to refine the volume, publishing several more editions of the book. Noted Whitman scholar, M. Jimmie Killingsworth writes that "the 'merge,' as Whitman conceived it, is the tendency of the individual self to overcome moral, psychological, and political boundaries. Thematically and poetically, the notion dominates the three major poems of 1855: 'I Sing the Body Electric,' 'The Sleepers,' and 'Song of Myself,' all of which were 'merged' in the first edition under the single title Leaves of Grass but were demarcated by clear breaks in the text and the repetition of the title."

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Whitman vowed to live a "purged" and "cleansed" life. He worked as a freelance journalist and visited the wounded at New York City–area hospitals. He then traveled to Washington, D. C. in December 1862 to care for his brother who had been wounded in the war.

Overcome by the suffering of the many wounded in Washington, Whitman decided to stay and work in the hospitals and stayed in the city for eleven years. He took a job as a clerk for the Department of the Interior, which ended when the Secretary of the Interior, James Harlan, discovered that Whitman was the author of Leaves of Grass, which Harlan found offensive. Harlan fired the poet.

Whitman struggled to support himself through most of his life. In Washington, he lived on a clerk's salary and modest royalties, and spent any excess money, including gifts from friends, to buy supplies for the patients he nursed. He had also been sending money to his widowed mother and an invalid brother. From time to time writers both in the states and in England sent him "purses" of money so that he could get by.

In the early 1870s, Whitman settled in Camden, New Jersey, where he had come to visit his dying mother at his brother's house. However, after suffering a stroke, Whitman found it impossible to return to Washington. He stayed with his brother until the 1882 publication of Leaves of Grass (James R. Osgood) gave Whitman enough money to buy a home in Camden.

his death on March 26, 1892, Whitman was buried in a tomb he designed and had built on a lot in Harleigh Cemetery.

Along with Emily Dickinson, he is considered one of America's most important poets.


"Philip Freneau." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/philip-freneau>.

Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet of Colonial America: a story of her life,” About, Inc., part of The New York Times Company, n.d.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Trials of Phillis Wheatley: America’s First Black Poet and Her Encounters with the Founding Fathers (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2003)

"American National Biography Online: Barlow, Joel." American National Biography Online: Barlow, Joel. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-00077.html>

"H-Net Reviews." H-Net Reviews. Web. 5 Dec. 2014. <http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=38750>.

"Joel Barlow." - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 3 Dec. 2014. <http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Barlow>.