Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a celebrated American poet, chiefly known for his controversial and highly original poetry collection Leaves of Grass. Born in 1819 on Long Island, he worked as a journalist, teacher, government clerk, and volunteer nurse during the Civil War. Whitman published his seminal work in 1855 with his own money, soon becoming one of the world's most popular and influential poets. After suffering a stroke in 1873 he retired to Camden, New Jersey, where he died nineteen years later - just two months after the final edition of Leaves of Grass appeared on sale. Steven Schroeder is a poet and visual artist who spent many years moonlighting as a philosophy professor - most often in interdisciplinary settings, most recently at the University of Chicago Graham School.