Born: May 31, 1819, West Hills, NY Died: March 26, 1892, Camden, NJ
No other poet better represents the original energy
and passion and the spirit of democracy,
the grand hopes generated by the seemingly
limitless potential of the “New World.”
But when Whitman began writing his unique poetry,
he was confronting the European heritage
that still dominated American and world culture,
and would continue to do so for some time.
Whitman’s fame grew slowly.
Whitman relied on a distinct, personal and
uniquely American vision for the source
of his poetic creations. His vocabulary and
grammar were influenced by his newspaper
and travel experiences – working daily in the
American idiom – as much as they were
by the Bible and traditional English literature.
His was the emerging American voice
hat would form the basis for modern writing.
Whitman elevated his own experience,
and that of his countrymen, to the realm of
great art, transcending the limits of nations and times.
“Leaves of Grass” has
earned its place as one of the truly universal
works of any era.
Perhaps his greatest theme was that of personal
consciousness. He spoke with
authority of the unique experience of oneself
in harmony with his world accepting
of all that make us unique human individuals.
Few writers or any other artist have
captured the experience of higher consciousness
as clearly as Walt Whitman.
Scott Duncan Oct 2016 Berkeley Ca.