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Walt Whitman Walt Whitman home page

What's Your View?

Walt Whitman, 1870.

Walt Whitman, 1870.
Library of Congress

An idealist who lived through the most wrenching of American transformations — the Civil War — Whitman is often considered the quintessential American poet.


DO YOU AGREE?
IF NOT, WHO DO YOU THINK IS MORE DESERVING OF THAT DISTINCTION?

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Your Views


I think Walt Whitman went to the help wanted section and found a squib that said "Wanted: National Poet." And he was innocent enough to believe there really was such a job. And if he could just write a poem that incorporated everything he felt and suspected and hoped for from America that he would have the position.

Allan Gurganus
Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Whitman had a remarkable faith in ordinary people to understand his book. It's celebrating American democracy. It's talking the language of the people. It's attacking aristocratic influences in American life. Why wouldn't this be very, very popular with the people? He expected stage drivers to stop between runs and pull out a copy of Leaves of Grass. People going out to plow the fields have a copy of Leaves of Grass...

Kenneth Price
Lincoln, Nebraska

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