American Poets – Part 4

Walt Whitman

  • He was born in West Hills, New York on May 31, 1819
  • He finished his formal schooling at the age of 11 and began working as a printer’s devil for the Long Island newspaper the Patriot to help support his eight other siblings
  • The following year, he worked for the shop of Alden Spooner as editor for the Long-Island Star newspaper; while there, he became involved with the community and anonymously published some of his poems to the New York Mirror
  • In 1838 he founded his own newspaper, the Long Islander where he was responsible for most of the operations such as editing, publishing, pressman, distribution and delivery for ten months until he sold it to E.O. Crowell
  • He was determined to be a poet; in 1850 he began writing Leaves of Grass, and he published the first edition in 1855. He would continue revising and editing the collection of poems until his death which lead to vastly different editions
  • During the American Civil War, Whitman’s brother, George, fought for the Union and Whitman was concerned about his brothers well-being after he saw a name similar to his brother’s on a list of fallen soldiers. He left for the south in search of George only to find him with an injury to his cheek. However, seeing the other wounded soldiers he decided to go to Washington, D.C.
  • In 1865, after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln he wrote the poem Oh Captain! My Captain!

Examples of his work in our collection

  • The Portable Walt Whitman DB019996
  • Leaves of Grass DB073834/BRX00023

Robert Frost

  • He was born in San Francisco, California on March 26th, 1874
  • He felt his true calling was poetry; he published his first poem in his high school magazine
  • “My Butterfly. An Elegy.” was the first poem he sold at the age of 20. He sold it for $15 which would equal $415 today; the poem was published in the New York Independent
  • He sailed to Great Britain in 1912 and a year later he published his first book of poetry, A Boy’s Will
  • He made acquaintances with other poets in Great Britain, including Ezra Pound, who was one of the first Americans to write a positive review of his work; he would later come to resent Pound for trying to manipulate his American prosody
  • He returned to America in 1915 during World War I; he bought a farm and began teaching lecturing and writing
  • In 1924, he won his first Pulitzer Prize for his book New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes

Examples of his work in our collection

  • The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged DB018824
April marks National Poetry Month! Throughout this month we will share information about some of the varying poetry styles practiced today and a little bit about their history. The purpose of the month is to increase the awareness and appreciation of poetry, and maybe help a few people find their inner poet talent.
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About nclbph

The North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NCLBPH) is a special public library that circulates books and magazines especially made for persons who cannot use regular printed material because of a visual or physical disability. The library is located in Raleigh, but mails materials throughout the state. The NCLBPH is a state agency operated by the State Library of North Carolina as a part of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. It is also a part of the network of regional libraries operated by the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).
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