Fun Facts Friday: Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (31 May, 1819 – 26 March, 1892) was an American journalist and essayists – I believe he also wrote a poem or two. Mr. Whitman is, of course, one of the most influential poets in the American catalog.

Books by Walt Whitman*
Books by Walt Whitman*

  1.  Mr. Whitman was born in Huntington, Long Island.
  2. In addition to being a published poet, Mr. Whitman held jobs of a government clerk, teacher,  and journalist.
  3. During the American Civil War Mr. Whitman worked part-time in the army paymaster’s office volunteered as a nurse. His essay “The Great Army of the Sick” which was published in 1863, talked about his experiences during that time.
  4. In 1855 Mr. Whitman published his notable poetry collection Leaves of Grass, using his own money.
  5. Leaves of Grass, a poetry collection, is a play on words in Mr. Whitman’s usual self-deprecating style. “Leaves” refers to sheets of paper, “grass” means things of little value. The intent of Leaves of Grass  is more or less “Sheets of crap”.
  6. In a delicious irony, Mr. Whitman, who left school at age 11, and he became a great American poet, couldn’t believe that an uneducated English common could have wrote the great plays which are attributed to one William Shakespeare.
  7. One of Mr. Whitman’s fondest childhood memories was a celebration in his Long Island town in which Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette picked him up and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
  8. Bram Stoker was a lifelong pen pal of Mr. Whitman and found the basis for Count Dracula due to the poet’s masculinity.
  9. Some of the Mr. Whitman’s most notable fans include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Iggy Pop, Allen Ginsberg and President Bill Clinton (who gifted a copy of Leaves of Grass to Monica Lewinsky).
  10. During the public viewing of Mr. Whitman’s coffin, over 1,000 people visited in three hours and his coffin was barely visible due to all the flowers and wreaths.

Books by Walt Whitman*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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