Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was born in Westhills, Long Island, and acquired his education in Brooklyn, New York. At thirteen he learned typesetting, and two years later he taught a country school. He contributed to the Democratic Review before he was twenty-one. At thirty he traveled through the Western States, spending one year in New Orleans editing a newspaper. Returning home, he took up carpentry and building, which he followed for a while. During the War of the Rebellion, he spent most of his time in the hospitals and camps, in the relief of sick and disabled soldiers. In 1856, Walt published a volume entitled Leaves of Grass. This volume showed unquestionable power and great originality, and it is considered one of the central volumes in the history of world poetry.
Walt continually expanded and revised the book over the course of much of his lifetime. His labors among the sick and wounded made great impressions; these took form in his mind and were published under the title Drum Taps. Walt's poems lack much of the standard of recognized poetic measure. He has a style that is peculiar to himself, and his writings are full of meaning, beauty, and interest.
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