Walt Whitman Facts

Walt Whitman Facts
Walt Whitman was an American poet and writer often referred to as the father of free verse for his controversial writing. He was born Walter Whitman on May 31st, 1819 in West Hills, Huntington, Long Island to Walter and Louisa Whitman. He had 8 brothers and sisters and was the second child born. Walt's family moved to Brooklyn when he was four years old, and when he was 11 years old, Walt's formal education ended. He worked a variety of jobs to help support his family, and even worked at the Newspaper The Patriot, where Samuel E. Clements was the editor. Walt became a teacher and then started his own newspaper. He sold it and continued to work at various newspapers and began writing and publishing his controversial poetry.
Interesting Walt Whitman Facts:
Walt Whitman's opinions did not always go over well with his employers at the newspapers where he worked. In a four year period he was fired from seven different newspapers.
Walt Whitman's work often included the topics of death and sexuality. Some critics praised his work while others were appalled by it.
Although often referred to as the father of free verse he was not the inventor of that type of prose.
Walt Whitman referred to himself as the 'American Bard at Last'. In literature bard means great poet. Shakespeare was English Literature's bard.
In 1848 Walt Whitman witnessed slavery first hand and returned to Brooklyn where he started a newspaper called the Brooklyn Freeman.
In 1855 Walt Whitman self-published a collection of unnamed poems which he titled Leaves of Grass. He printed 795 copies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote Walt Whitman a letter after reading Leaves of Grass, praising his work. In the letter he wrote, "The most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom" written by an American.
Walt Whitman republished a revised edition of Leaves of Grass a year later. He included Ralph Waldo Emerson's letter in the revised edition.
A publisher in Boston published a third edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass in 1860. The Civil War soon started and the publisher closed down.
Walt Whitman moved to Washington D.C. and worked for the paymaster and volunteered with wounded soldiers. He published a collection of poetry titled Drum-Taps, based upon his knowledge of the soldiers' experiences in the Civil War.
Walt Whitman's most notable works include Franklin Evans (1842), Leaves of Grass (multiple editions throughout the years), Drum-Taps (1865), Democratic Vistas (1871), Memoranda During the War (1876), and Specimen Days (1882).
Walt Whitman believed that all religions were equally important.
Walt Whitman's novel Franklin Evans caused him embarrassment in later years. He admitted that he wrote in only three days, just for the money, and that he had been drinking when he wrote it.
Walt Whitman died on March 26th, 1892. During the autopsy it was discovered that bronchial pneumonia had caused his lung capacity to shrink and that he had an abscess on his chest.
The final edition of Leaves of Grass was later nicknamed the Deathbed Edition, as Walt Whitman was nearing the end of his life at the time.


Related Links:
Facts
Authors Facts
Animals Facts
Literature
Literature Summary
Literature Quizzes








Educational Videos