Considered one of America’s most influential poets, Walt Whitman aimed to transcend traditional epics and eschew normal aesthetic forms to mirror the potential freedoms to be found in America.
In 1855, he self-published the collection Leaves of Grass; the book is now a landmark in American literature, though at the time of its publication it was considered highly controversial.
After Whitman’s poems were published, their deviation from traditional forms, passion for honesty, exploration of the full spectrum of human experience, and dedication to individualism influenced the entire art movement Modernism.
Two memorable people described by Walt Whitman
Aside from Beecher, perhaps the most famous preacher to influence Whitman was Edward Thompson Taylor of Seamen’s Bethel Chapel, whose vivid style, rich with the language and imagery of the sea, also caught the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Herman Melville.
The dominant themes that are more pervasive in Whitman’s poetry are democracy, life/death cycles, individualism, and nature.