After publishing five novels, some of which flourished and others that floundered, Melville turned his pen to poetry. Melville based his Civil War poems on firsthand experience, and rather than glorify battle, he depicts the horrors and the waste of it.
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. His first three books gained much contemporary attention (the first, Typee, became a bestseller), but after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime.
When he died in 1891, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the "Melville Revival" in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. In 1919, the unfinished manuscript for his novella Billy Budd was discovered by his first biographer. He published a version in 1924, which was quickly acclaimed by notable British critics as another masterpiece of Melville's. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America.