1819 - 1892
WALT WHITMAN
Born: May 31, 1819
West Hills, New York
Died: March 26, 1892
Camden, New Jersey
LIFE BEFORE POETRY
Second of nine children.
He attended school in Brooklyn until age 11.
He taught school at age 17 on ...
ESSENTIAL FACTS
Largely self-taught, Walt Whitman was
living in New York by age 14, supporting
himself by learning to set...
Remarkable American poet. He broke all the
literary rules, discarding rhyme and form in
favor of free verse, and he also f...
Because his
brother George
was wounded
during the Civil
War, Whitman
became a nurse,
spending most of
his meager
finances...
His admirers have
included everyone
from Lord Alfred
Tennyson to Jack
Kerouac.
Whitman died in Camden, New Jersey, in 18...
CAREER
 Considered to be the most important American poet of
the nineteenth century.
 His first novel, Franklin Evans.
...
PRIZES
Whitman received little acclaim during his lifetime
and often struggled to support himself. He lived on a
clerk's s...
WALT WHITMAN AWARD
 Brings first-book publication, a cash prize of $5,000
 A one-month residency at the Vermont Studio C...
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearfultripis done;
The shiphas weathered every rack, the prize we sough...
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN!
Walt Whitman wrote the poem
after Abraham Lincoln's
assassination. The "ship" spoken of
is intended...
Walt whitman.1
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Walt whitman.1

  1. 1. 1819 - 1892
  2. 2. WALT WHITMAN Born: May 31, 1819 West Hills, New York Died: March 26, 1892 Camden, New Jersey
  3. 3. LIFE BEFORE POETRY Second of nine children. He attended school in Brooklyn until age 11. He taught school at age 17 on Long Island. He was mainly self-taught, therefore read at a young age. In 1841, he turned to journalism as a full-time career. He founded the weekly newspaper Long-Islander.
  4. 4. ESSENTIAL FACTS Largely self-taught, Walt Whitman was living in New York by age 14, supporting himself by learning to set type. Whitman self-published Leaves of Grass in 1855, when he was 36 years old.
  5. 5. Remarkable American poet. He broke all the literary rules, discarding rhyme and form in favor of free verse, and he also fought societal convention by speaking fearlessly about his homosexuality. His poem “O Captain! My Captain!” in memory of Abraham Lincoln is one of the most patriotic in American history. Few poets have ever come close to matching his genius and wit.
  6. 6. Because his brother George was wounded during the Civil War, Whitman became a nurse, spending most of his meager finances and time helping to heal the wounded.
  7. 7. His admirers have included everyone from Lord Alfred Tennyson to Jack Kerouac. Whitman died in Camden, New Jersey, in 1892. He designed his own tomb. It reads simply, “Walt Whitman.”
  8. 8. CAREER  Considered to be the most important American poet of the nineteenth century.  His first novel, Franklin Evans.  Many of his four hundred poems contain musical terms, names of instruments, and names of composers.  Themes relating to the soul, death, and immortality.
  9. 9. PRIZES Whitman received little acclaim during his lifetime and often struggled to support himself. He lived on a clerk's salary and modest royalties, and spent any excess money, including gifts from friends, to buy supplies for the patients he nursed. He had also been sending money to his widowed mother and an invalid brother. From time to time writers both in the states and in England sent him "purses" of money so that he could get by.
  10. 10. WALT WHITMAN AWARD  Brings first-book publication, a cash prize of $5,000  A one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center to an American who has never before published a book of poetry.  The winning manuscript, chosen by an eminent poet, is published by Louisiana State University Press.  The Academy purchases copies of the book for distribution to its members.  The award was established in 1975 to encourage the work of emerging poets and to enable the publication of a poet's first book.
  11. 11. O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearfultripis done; The shiphas weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring: But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captainlies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills; For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding; For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head; It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! But I, with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead
  12. 12. O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! Walt Whitman wrote the poem after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. The "ship" spoken of is intended to represent the United States of America, while its "fearful trip" recalls the troubles of the American Civil War. The titular "Captain" is Lincoln himself.

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