; May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist
, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism
, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse
. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass
, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
Born in Huntington
on Long Island
, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and—in addition to publishing his poetry—was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War
. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel
, Franklin Evans
(1842). Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass
, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic
. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey
, where his health further declined. When he died at age 72, his funeral became a public spectacle. Read more...