Whitman’s Poetry

Whitman was a revolutionary and an exceptional poet, journalist, and essayist during the mid-1800s. He was marked to be one of the greatest poets succeeding after Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare in the field. One of Whitman’s renowned poems, the Leaves of Grass, received popularity and public attention in the 1800s. The combination of his poetry composition and his theme contributed to his fame.

Whitman well-utilized Transcendentalist themes in the published pieces of his poems. The Transcendentalist movement highlighted subjective instinct over objective induction. Its advocates believed that individuals could form primitive literary pieces with less reliance and reverence for the conventional ideals of poetries. Some of the transcendentalist themes that Whitman sought were democracy, self and nature, the universal association of all people, the question about life and death, and the spirituality of nature.

In Leaves of Grass, Whitman combined some of his ideals with the free verse structure. His free-versed poetry was unrhymed and non-metrical. It was composed in the form of ordinary

speech, not poetry. His speech-like poetry flowed smoothly but detached, which was odd for most people in the 1800s.

Despite its eccentricity, Witman’s idea was considered original and a once-in-a- generation idea. His poetry was indeed different from most of the poets during the time. His poetry was more innovative and modern, unlike the outdated and mundane writing style of other poets. There is no doubt why he was able to receive such popularity and fame across the United States.

By. Minjung Kwon