About Walt Whitman

At various times, Walt Whitman was a teacher, a journalist, a government official and a clerk. He also spent a significant period in his life working in the hospitals of the American Civil War, and witnessed the acute suffering of casualties.

While employed as a low‑level clerk in the Ministry for the Interior, Whitman was fired from his position when a superior disapproved of his first collection of poetry, Leaves of Grass, on moral grounds.

The intervention of a friend saw Whitman transferred to the Attorney General’s office, and he continued to write and revise new editions of Leaves of Grass. His popularity increased with the publication of his tribute on the death of Abraham Lincoln, ‘O Captain! My Captain!’

Whitman is regarded as one of America’s most significant and popular poets. Stylistically innovative and compassionate in tone, he believed in the vital importance of the relationship between the poet and society.