When Walt Whitman self-published Leaves of Grass in 1855 it was a slim volume of twelve poems and he was a journalist and poet from Long Island, little-known but full of ambition and poetic fire. To give a new voice to the new nation shaken by civil war, he spent his entire life revising and adding to the work, but his initial act of bravado in answering Ralph Waldo Emerson's call for a national poet has made Whitman the quintessential American writer. This rich cross-section of his work includes poems from ...
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The Portable Walt Whitman

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When Walt Whitman self-published Leaves of Grass in 1855 it was a slim volume of twelve poems and he was a journalist and poet from Long Island, little-known but full of ambition and poetic fire. To give a new voice to the new nation shaken by civil war, he spent his entire life revising and adding to the work, but his initial act of bravado in answering Ralph Waldo Emerson's call for a national poet has made Whitman the quintessential American writer. This rich cross-section of his work includes poems from throughout Whitman's lifetime as published on his deathbed edition of 1891, short stories, his prefaces to the many editions of Leaves of Grass, and a variety of prose selections, including Democratic Vistas, Specimen Days, and Slang in America.

An illustrated collection of twenty-six poems and excerpts from longer poems by the renowned nineteenth-century poet.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5-9--An outstanding introduction to Whitman's life and work. This collection of 26 poems and excerpts from longer poems is prefaced by a biographical sketch and a description of the time period. Students will be impressed by the poet's daring departure from traditional metered and rhyming poetry. Levin guides readers into understanding the importance of Whitman's oeuvre. He introduces each selection with pertinent information about its relevance to a larger work, its relationship to Whitman's beliefs, or the symbolism within it. Words that students might find difficult are defined at the bottom of the page. Beginning with the patriotic "I Hear America Singing," the collection includes excerpts from "Song of Myself," "O Captain! My Captain!," poems from Leaves of Grass, and a variety of other selections that are thought-provoking, descriptive, and full of emotion. Burke's pastel drawings add to the feelings Levin describes, and to the emotional impact of each poem. Several illustrations are historical in nature; others reflect ordinary lives and activities of the times. Still others show Whitman's sense of the miracles and mysticism of life. This superb volume can be used to teach literature or to show a variety of poetic devices and style. Students who have been taught to appreciate poetry will enjoy it on their own.--Betty Teague, Blythe Academy of Languages, Greenville, SC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440650970
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/30/2003
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 608
  • Sales rank: 522,589
  • File size: 501 KB

Meet the Author

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was born on Long Island and educated in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a printer's devil, journeyman compositor, itinerant schoolteacher, editor, and unofficial nurse to Northern and Southern soldiers.

Michael Warner is professor of English at Rutgers University. His most recent works include American Sermons: The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King, and his essays and journalism have appeared in the Village Voice, the Nation, and other magazines.

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Table of Contents

Song of Myself 3
A Song for Occupations 68
To Think of Time 77
The Sleepers 84
I Sing the Body Electric 94
Faces 103
There Was a Child Went Forth 108
Who Learns My Lesson Complete? 111
Unfolded Out of the Folds 113
Song of the Broad-Axe 114
To You 126
This Compost 129
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry 132
Song of the Open Road 139
A Woman Waits for Me 151
To a Foil'd European Revolutionaire 153
Spontaneous Me 155
A Song of the Rolling Earth 158
Starting from Paumanok 165
From Pent-up Aching Rivers 179
Me Imperturbe 182
I Hear America Singing 183
As I Ebb'd with the Ocean of Life 184
You Felons on Trial in Courts 188
The World below the Brine 189
I Sit and Look Out 190
All Is Truth 191
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking 192
Native Moments 199
Once I Pass'd through a Populous City 200
Once I Pass'd through a Populous City [draft version] 201
Facing West from California's Shores 202
As Adam Early in the Morning 203
Live Oak, with Moss 204
Not Heat Flames up and Consumes 204
I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing 204
When I Heard at the Close of the Day 205
This Moment Yearning and Thoughtful 206
Calamus 8: "Long I thought that knowledge alone would suffice me" 206
What Think You I Take My Pen in Hand? 207
Recorders Ages Hence! 207
Calamus 9: "Hours continuing long, sore and heavy-hearted" 208
I Dreamed in a Dream 209
O You Whom I Often and Silently Come 209
Earth! My Likeness 209
To a Western Boy 210
In Paths Untrodden 211
Scented Herbage of My Breast 211
Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand 213
For You O Democracy 215
These I Singing in Spring 215
Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances 217
The Base of All Metaphysis [added 1871] 218
Are You the New Person Drawn toward Me? 218
Roots and Leaves Themselves Alone 219
Of Him I Love Day and Night 219
City of Orgies 220
To a Stranger 221
I Hear It Was Charged against Me 221
We Two Boys Together Clinging 221
Here the Frailest Leaves of Me 222
A Glimpse 222
Sometimes with One I Love 222
Among the Multitude 223
That Shadow My Likeness 223
Full of Life Now 223
To Him That Was Crucified 225
To a Common Prostitute 226
To You 227
Mannahatta 228
A Hand-Mirror 230
Visor'd 231
As if a Phantom Caress'd Me 232
So Long! 233
Shut Not Your Doors 237
Beat! Beat! Drums! 237
City of Ships 238
Cavalry Crossing a Ford 239
Bivouac on a Mountain Side 239
An Army Corps on the March [1865-66] 240
By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame 240
Come Up from the Fields Father 241
Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night 242
A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and the Road Unknown 244
A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim 245
As Toilsome I Wander'd Virginia's Woods 246
The Wound-Dresser 246
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer 249
A Farm Picture 250
Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun 250
To a Certain Civilian 252
Years of the Modern 252
Over the Carnage Rose Prophetic a Voice 254
As I Lay with My Head in Your Lap Camerado [1865-66] 255
Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd 255
I Saw Old General at Bay 256
Look Down Fair Moon 256
Reconciliation [1865-66] 257
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd [1865-66] 257
O Captain! My Captain! [1865-66] 267
Old War-Dreams [1865-66] 267
Chanting the Square Deific [1865-66] 268
I Heard You Solemn-Sweet Pipes of the Organ [1865-66] 270
One's Self I Sing 271
The Runner 272
When I Read the Book 273
Passage to India 274
Proud Music of the Storm 285
A Noiseless Patient Spider 292
The Last Invocation 293
On the Beach at Night 294
Sparkles from the Wheel 296
Gods 297
Joy, Shipmate, Joy! 298
Ethiopia Saluting the Colors 299
The Mystic Trumpeter 300
Prayer of Columbus 304
To a Locomotive in Winter 307
The Ox-Tamer 309
The Dalliance of the Eagles 310
A Clear Midnight 311
As I Sit Writing Here 312
Broadway 313
Unseen Buds 314
Good-bye My Fancy! 315
"The Child's Champion" 319
Preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855 330
Letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Leaves of Grass, 1856 352
Preface to "As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free," 1872 363
Preface to the Centennial Edition of Leaves of Grass, 1876 368
"A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads," 1888 378
Democratic Vistas 395
From Specimen Days 463
"Slang in America" 557
Suggestions for Further Reading 563
Index of Titles and First Lines 565
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