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Walt Whitman by Greg Huset

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago

                                                                           Walt Whitman



He walked among men, among writers, among verbal varnishers and veneerers, among literary milliners and tailors, with the unconscious majesty of an antique god. He was born in the town of West Hills Township, Huntington, New York, United States on May 31st, 1819. His passing came on the day of March 26, 1892 in Camden, New Jersey, United States at the age of 72 years old. He left behind works of exquisite literature and language that have been read and enjoyed to this day. Walt Whitman left school at age 14 to labor as a newspaper typesetter, quickly working his way up to reporter and then editor. In the early 1850's he retreated from the distractions of the newspaper business to build houses with his father, Walter; and to write Leaves.of.Grass, which would eventually become the most popular book of poetry ever written. Whitman's style was romantic and sensitive at a time when the US Civil War raged across the land with all its brutality and suffering. He greatly loved America, nonetheless, volunteering to tend the wounded in Washington, D.C., and writing a popular tribute to Abraham.Lincoln, "O.Captain!_My.Captain!." A favorite of presidents ever since, Whitman wrote poetry praising America and touting the virtues of democracy. Walt's work is  interesting to me because of the style he conducts his writing with, his work is always filled with hype and compasion.

I Hear America Singing 

  I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear;

Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and


The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off


The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat--the deckhand

singing on the steamboat deck;

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench--the hatter singing as

he stands;

The wood-cutter's song--the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning,

or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;

The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or

of the girl sewing or washing--Each singing what belongs to

her, and to none else;

The day what belongs to the day--At night, the party of young

fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

  Poem Explanation
This poem sets the stage for the reader to get a glimpse image of who the man behind the words is, and that is a man of great love and honor for America. I believe that through this poem, Walt is giving the working people of our country the recognition that they deserve, that from time to time may be overlooked. It also reflects the spirit of the American people, and that is of a joyful glee, singing a cheerful tone while they work. People who conduct the labors of there work, with a smile on there face the whole time. Undertaking in there work not for the fame and fortune of it, but more for the love and joy of there craft. This poem shows a powerful image of the character and backbone of the American people. I didn’t find any faults in this poem, or lines to confusing, I believe that this poem gives a very strong image but is simplistic enough to be enjoyed and appreciated by people amongst all ages.   
To A Locomotive in Winter


Thee in the driving storm, even as now--the snow--the winter-day


Thee in thy panoply, thy measured dual throbbing, and thy beat


Thy black cylindric body, golden brass, and silvery steel;

Thy ponderous side-bars, parallel and connecting rods, gyrating,

shuttling at thy sides;

Thy metrical, now swelling pant and roar--now tapering in the


Thy great protruding head-light, fix'd in front;

Thy long, pale, floating vapor-pennants, tinged with delicate purple;

The dense and murky clouds out-belching from thy smoke-stack;

Thy knitted frame--thy springs and valves--the tremulous twinkle of

thy wheels;

Thy train of cars behind, obedient, merrily-following,

Through gale or calm, now swift, now slack, yet steadily careering:

Type of the modern! emblem of motion and power! pulse of the


For once, come serve the Muse, and merge in verse, even as here I see


With storm, and buffeting gusts of wind, and falling snow;

By day, thy warning, ringing bell to sound its notes,

By night, thy silent signal lamps to swing.


Fierce-throated beauty!

Roll through my chant, with all thy lawless music! thy swinging lamps

at night;

Thy piercing, madly-whistled laughter! thy echoes, rumbling like an

earthquake, rousing all!

Law of thyself complete, thine own track firmly holding;

(No sweetness debonair of tearful harp or glib piano thine,)

Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return'd,

Launch'd o'er the prairies wide--across the lakes,

To the free skies, unpent, and glad, and strong. 



Poem Explanation 

  This poem does an excellent job of giving vivid descriptions. It paints this picture of a winter day where this huge and impressive locomotive is powering its way down the track. Smoke pouring through its stacks, as the snow falls down along side it. Its strength matched but nothing less of its size, what a creation. This machine roams free like an animal in the night. Now we can come to recognize that the railroad was the cornerstone of the progress of the United States. Bringing transportation of goods and information to a whole new level. However, I do think Walt was well aware of this, but I interpret that he introduces this it at a much deeper lever. I think he is using symbolism here, were the locomotive is actually the United States as a country. A country of such power and strength, like a machine that can’t be stopped. However very new and young, we will lead fearless like that animal in the night.   

Comments (6)

Anonymous said

at 9:11 am on May 10, 2007

I really like the colors and pictures, everything looks really nice! However, the poem descriptions were a little short, it sounds like you understood them really well, but i think it's a little more difficult for others.

Anonymous said

at 9:20 am on May 10, 2007

You show a great understanding of the poems, and give a good view of what Walt Witman is saying to the readers.

Anonymous said

at 9:21 am on May 10, 2007

I like the pictures. The poem you had picked is great for America and I HEAR america singing makes me to feel that im proud to be american. =) Yeah, Walt did well to recognize the Americans working people.. Your description explains well. good job.

Anonymous said

at 9:22 am on May 10, 2007

I enjoyed reading your introduction to whitman. It gives the reader an understanding of his loyalty and compassion for this country.

Anonymous said

at 9:40 am on May 10, 2007

We thought that you had a lot of good pictures. The first poem was great because we like poems about America. We liked the backbone part. Good job over all.
From: Jake Erickson and Savannah Bastian

Anonymous said

at 9:50 am on May 10, 2007

I liked the opening lines to the info on Walt. Good rest of the page too. I liked both the poems and the analysis' of them at the end.

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