Walt Whitman (1819-92) was an influential American poet and essayist, and is credited with being the founding father of free verse. He first published his culturally significant poetry collection `Leaves of Grass' in 1855 from his own pocket, and revised and expanded it over thirty years. It is an essential element of America's literary tradition, much taught in schools and universities around the world.
`I greet you at the beginning of a great career.' Letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Walt Whitman, 1855 `The most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed.' Ralph Waldo Emerson `America's poet... He is America.' Ezra Pound `If you are American, then Walt Whitman is your imaginative father and mother, even if, like myself, you have never composed a line of verse.' Harold Bloom, literary critic