Walt Whitman


Walt Whitman was born in West Hills on Long Island in 1819. He had a little formal education and at the age of 11, he started to work as an office boy and then became a printer's apprentice. When he was 13, he travelled from New York to New Orleand, through Chicago. During this period he read and acquiring a self-taught and eccentric education.
In 1855 he wrote "Leaves of Grass": containing 12 poems about his development as a poet and his experience of the American land. Nine editions followed, each containing new poems. The fourth edition contained poems on the Civil War and on the death of President Lincoln. Walt Whitman died in 1892.

Poetry

Whitman's poetry is invaded by optimism and romantic faith in the dynamic future of the American nation. He celebrated American in all its kind. To him, his country represented the incarnation of the "American Dream".
Another main theme in Whitman's poetry is himself, his tasks as a poet to give voice to the common man.
He also deals physical love: Whitman's poetry is a poetry of the body, in which the theme of sex is developed with a directness and frankness that struck puritanical readers as "immoral".

"O Captain" My Captain!"

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Whitman wrote this poetry. In the poem methaporical references to this theme are repeated. The ship we are talking about represents the USA, while the journey recalls the difficulties of the American Civil War. The captain was Lincoln. He was like a captain because he was the leader of the country in the same way that the captain leads his crew.
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