The Life of Walt Whitman: An Exploration in the Poet's Spirituality and Works.

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Many a student has decried various types of poetry for its form and structure while enjoying the free verse works of poets such as T. S. Elliot and Robert Frost. Students, however, frequently neglect the Civil War era poet Walt Whitman who is, to this day, considered the Father of free verse. While Whitman did not invent free verse, he secured its role in the American psyche. Even with his accomplishments, Whitman's life was not without trials; he concluded schooling and began working at age eleven. This early independence and the trials that followed forced Whtiman to seek spiritual solace to cope. Whitman's search for a greater meaning becomes evident in his poetry and drives his works. From his early works such as “There Was A Child …show more content…
After years of declining health and debilitating strokes Walter Whitman Jr died on March 26, 1892. Throughout the journey of Whitman's life his work shows a growing disillusionment with humanity and subsequent spiritual search for peace. (Connors).
Whitman: The child that went forth. Whitman's first publishing of Leaves of Grass contained a precious few poems; Leaves of Grass would eventually grow into a complicated work containing hundreds of poems that grapple with complex themes of Whitman's life including even his own sexuality; something he struggled with “through notebook jottings for the rest of his life”(Connors). Even in this early form, thirty-three years before its final edition, Leaves of Grass contains strong connections to Whitman's life and his spirituality. Whitman's childhood was laced with changes, moving from his family's farm at age four to New York City. A move, that according to Judith Connors in her biography of Whitman, marked a shift in Whitman's life that would influence all of his work. Evidence of this move and of Whitman's initial disillusionment with society can be seen in one of the poems from his first 1854 edition of Leaves of Grass, “There Was a Child That Went Forth”. The second stanza of “There Was a Child That Went Forth” the narrator speaks of things that a boy living on a farm, like Whitman, would experience at a young age: “lilacs... lambs...[the] brood of the barn-yard” (“There Was A Child That Went Forth”,

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