Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892) is an early American poet who lived during the Civil War. His idealistic and romantic poems pay homage to the United States and democracy. His most famous work, "Leaves of Grass", is a collection of poems he self-published in 1855 because no commercial publisher would touch it. Over the next twenty-seven years, he continued to revise and edit the collection, publishing five additional editions.
Home to an excellent Whitman biography, the meat of this Poets.org page can be found in the left and right-hand columns. There you'll find links to eighteen Whitman poems, seven Whitman discussion questions and pages about five additional romanticism poets (Poe, Keats, Shelley, Coleridge and Wordsworth.) Best clicks are the "Guide to Walt Whitman's ï¿½Leaves of Grass'" and the "Walt Whitman Reading Guide" (which contains the entire site in PDF.)
"The Classroom Electric is a constellation of web sites on Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and nineteenth-century American culture. Here users can explore images of original manuscripts, rare photographs, notebooks, scrapbooks, letters, and maps in sites informed by cutting-edge scholarship." This particular page is a Table of Contents listing all the Walt Whitman sites in the collection, and is an excellent resource for high-school students, college students and other inquiring minds.
From the companion website to the PBS televison special "I Hear America Singing," host Thomas Hampson describes Whitman's relationship to American music. "Walt Whitman caroled throughout his verse. For the Bard of Democracy, as America came to call our great poet, music was a central metaphor in his life and work, both as a metaphysical mindset and as a practical reality." In addition to a few video clips from the TV show, the site features a handful of poems, and a biographic timeline.
The Walt Whitman Archive is my pick of the day because of the breadth of its resources. Visit for a biography, contemporary literary criticism, a gallery of photographs, and complete e-texts of many of his works. My favorite click is a thirty-six second MP3 audio clip of what is thought to be Whitman reciting four lines from his "America" poem. The original recording was made on a wax cylinder well over a hundred years ago!
Often a recited poem will affect us differently than one that we read. Here's an opportunity to hear six of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" poems professionally read (in RealPlayer format) by Richard Slater. Other poetry readings can be found by following the Poetry Online link in the upper right-hand corner. For younger listeners, follow the Wired for Books link to the Kids Corner, where you'll find audio versions of "Alice in Wonderland," Beatrix Potter and Grimm's Fairy Tales.
Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892) is an early American poet who lived during the Civil War. His idealistic and romantic poems pay homage to the United States and democracy. His most famous work, \"Leaves of Grass\", is a collection of poems he self-published in 1855 because no commercial publisher would touch it. Over the next twenty-seven years, he continued to revise and edit the collection, publishing five additional editions.