Walt Whitman Quotes
A collection of quotes by Walt Whitman.
Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist, born on May 31, 1819, in West Hills, New York. He is often referred to as the father of free verse and is considered one of the most influential poets in American literature. Whitman's major work, "Leaves of Grass," is a collection of poetry that underwent continuous expansion and revision throughout his life.
During the American Civil War, Whitman volunteered as a nurse in military hospitals, where he was deeply moved by the suffering and experiences of wounded soldiers. These experiences heavily influenced his writing, and his later poetry often reflected themes of democracy, individualism, and the unity of all people.
Whitman's unique style of writing challenged traditional poetic norms by utilizing long, unrhymed lines and a conversational tone. He celebrated the beauty and diversity of America, often focusing on common people and their experiences. His boldly sensual and explicitly homoerotic themes brought both awe and controversy to his work.
Despite facing criticism and censorship during his time, Whitman's poetry gradually gained recognition and had a profound impact on later generations of poets. He continued to write and publish until his death on March 26, 1892, leaving behind a profound legacy in American literature.
Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.
And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and can be none in the future,And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turn'd to beautiful results,And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death,And I will thread a thread through my poems that time and events are compact,And that all the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any.
Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? have you reckon'd the earth much? Have you practis'd so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems? Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,) You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,I stand and look at them long and long.They do not sweat and whine about their condition,They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
Their manners, speech, dress, friendships, -- the freshness and candor of their physiognomy -- the picturesque looseness of their carriage -- their deathless attachment to freedom -- their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean -- the practical acknowledgment of the citizens of one state by the citizens of all other states -- the fierceness of their roused resentment -- their curiosity and welcome of novelty -- their self-esteem and wonderful sympathy -- their susceptibility to a slight -- the air they have of persons who never knew how it felt to stand in the presence of superiors -- the fluency of their speech -- their delight in music, a sure symptom of manly tenderness and native elegance of soul -- their good temper and open-handedness -- the terrible significance of their elections, the President's taking off his hat to them, not they to him -- these too are unrhymed poetry. It awaits the gigantic and generous treatment worthy of it.