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Selected Poetry of Walt Whitman (1819-1892)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

I have said that the soul is not more than the body,
And I have said that the body is not more than the soul,
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one's self is,
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud ...
        (Song of Myself)
  1. Beat! Beat! Drums!
  2. Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
  3. I Saw in Louisiana A Live-Oak Growing
  4. I Sing the Body Electric
  5. A Noiseless Patient Spider
  6. O Captain! My Captain!
  7. On the Beach at Night
  8. On the Beach at Night Alone
  9. One's-Self I Sing
  10. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
  11. Patroling Barnegat
  12. Song of Myself
  13. Song of the Open Road
  14. Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field one Night
  15. When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
  16. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd
  17. The World below the Brine


Notes on Life and Works

Born in Huntington, Long Island, on May 31, 1819, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Walt Whitman was the second eldest of nine children. Out of school as early as 13, he soon started work as a typesetter, from 1836 to 1841 taught in schools, and thereafter worked as a journalist with many newspapers and magazines, becoming editor of the Democratic Brooklyn Eagle 1846-48 and of the Brooklyn Times 1857-59. His greatest work, Leaves of Grass (at first just 12 poems in 1855), was likely written in years when he assisted his father building houses in Brooklyn. Whitman subsequently republished, revised, and added to this collection in 1856, 1860, 1860, 1867, 1871, 1876, 1881-82, 1882, 1888-89, and 1891-92. During the Civil War he lived in Washington and devoted himself for years to helping wounded soldiers. His homoerotic nature, his admiration for manly love of men, had made him controversial. By the publication of Drum Taps (1865), Whitman had found work as a government clerk. His last great poetry volume, Passage to India, was published in 1871, although later three more volumes appeared: Two Rivulets (1876), November Boughs (1888), and Good-Bye, My Fancy (1891). Whitman fell ill from a stroke, and lost his mother, both in 1873. He had travelled widely before that, and he did so also after 1876. Famous and infamous on both sides of the Atlantic, Whitman died on March 26, 1892. See also

Biographical information

Given name: Walt
Family name: Whitman
Birth date: 31 May 1819
Death date: 26 March 1892
Nationality: American
Illness: Paralytic Stroke: January 1873