Walt whitman born on long island,he work as a journalist, a teacher and a government clerk.Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842). He was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War.Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892.
Whitman wrote in the preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, "The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it." He believed there was a vital, symbiotic relationship between the poet and society. This connection was emphasized especially in "Song of Myself" by using an all-powerful first-person narration. As an American epic, it deviated from the historic use of an elevated hero and instead assumed the identity of the common people. Leaves of Grass also responded to the impact that recent urbanization in the United States had on the masses.
1861 ARM’D year! year of the struggle! No dainty rhymes or sentimental love verses for you, terrible year! Not you as some pale poetling, seated at a desk, lisping cadenzas piano; But as a strong man, erect, clothed in blue clothes, advancing, carrying a rifle on your shoulder, With well-gristled body and sunburnt face and hands–with a knife in the belt at your side, As I heard you shouting loud–your sonorous voice ringing across the continent; Your masculine voice, O year, as rising amid the great cities, Amid the men of Manhattan I saw you, as one of the workmen, the dwellers in Manhattan; Or with large steps crossing the prairies out of Illinois and Indiana, Rapidly crossing the West with springy gait, and descending the Alleghanies; Or down from the great lakes, or in Pennsylvania, or on deck along the Ohio river; Or southward along the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers, or at Chattanooga on the mountain top, Saw I your gait and saw I your sinewy limbs, clothed in blue, bearing weapons, robust year; Heard your determin’d voice, launch’d forth again and again; Year that suddenly sang by the mouths of the round-lipp’d cannon, I repeat you, hurrying, crashing, sad, distracted year