Walt Whitman, (1819-92). US poet and essayist. He left school at 11 and had a number of jobs, including printing and teaching. The poetry collection Leaves of Grass (1855), which he continued to revise and expand throughout his life, made him controversially famous and was judged obscene by some critics. During the Civil War, he spent much time visiting the wounded soldiers of both sides in Washington hospitals. A pioneer of free verse, he is considered America’s greatest poet.
“ In Whitman’s works the elemental parts of a man’s mind and the fragments of imperfect education may be seen merging together, floating and sinking in a sea of insensate egotism and rhapsody, repellent, divine, disgusting, extraordinary. John Jay Chapman, ‘Walt Whitman’ Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes). Walt Whitman, Song of Myself”