What's Your View?
Was Walt Whitman the quintessential American poet? Read the comments of others — and share 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