American Poet Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman

American poet, Walt Whitman was the first American Romanticism author to write in free-lance poetry. Whitman was not only distinguished as a poet, but according to the Academy of American Poets, was the premier, writer of democracy (Walt 3). Throughout the years, Whitman has been profoundly acknowledged for his works such as Drum Taps and The Leaves of Grass that were written during the Civil War era. Walt Whitman had a unique childhood that lead to a successful adulthood, and finally helped him to innovate American culture as society knows it today.

Whitman’s childhood included various events that contributed to his successful future. On May 31st, 1819, in Long Island, New York, Walt Whitman was born to Walter Whitman and Louisa Van Velsor. He was the second child out of the eight surviving children in the Whitman and Velsor household. In addition, his childhood occurred during the great American Westward Expansion (Whitman). In 1823, Whitman at age three, moved to Brooklyn, New York with his family. However, between 1831 and 1836, Walt’s father took him out of school to help out at home because they needed help keeping their mortgage.

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His first job ever would be working as an office boy in New York City. At age twelve, Whitman learned the printing trade and, fell in love with the written word (Walt 2). While learning the printing trade, he familiarized himself with the Bible, Dante, Homer, and Shakespeare. Sadly, a few years later, a fire broke out in their town and demolished the printing trade in the area (Walt 2). In search of a new job, Whitman at seventeen years of age, became a teacher in a one room schoolhouse where he grew up in New Jersey. While teaching, Whitman started to pursue writing once again.

In his later years, Whitman took up the occupation of writing and publishing. He became most famous for being the first American Romanticism author to incorporate freelance writing into his poetry. Early into adulthood, Whitman stopped teaching for two years and founded the Long Islander Newspaper. Through this, Whitman published his well known works such as O Captain My Captain, and Drum Taps during and after the Civil War era. In 1861, the Civil War began, and with his immediate family having strong political views, his brother immediately joined the Union forces (Home). Tragically, in 1862, his brother was shot in battle by a confederate soldier and became critically injured and ill.

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