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Walt Whitman believed that America should have a new poetry for the country, and not one that was steeped in British traditions, that it should speak of the democracy of the country. He developed his own unique style that has risen to him being called the 'Father of Free Verse'. However when he was first published in the US he met with mixed reactions, especially as some of his poetry was of a sexual element. In this country and throughout Europe though hs poetry was more generally admired.

Whitman wrote of the land he lived in, the people who inhabited that land, and tackled the Civil War, slavery, and equality for all. If you first look at his poetry you will immediately see that it doesn't rhyme, that the verses are of different lengths, and you may think that it is just mindless rambling. How wrong you would be though. Reading Whitman you soon grasp that his poetry has an internal rythmn, which probably accounts for many composers adding music to it. At times though it has to be admitted, his poems do become repetitive as he writes a lot that can seem to be like lists. All in all though this is a great book to read, collecting all his poems together, and has an excellant introduction by Stephen Matterson, as well as essays and newspaper accounts about the man himself.

Whitman's poems were very influential amongst the Beat Generation, and reading this book you can quite see why. His poems also help give a greater understanding to the fledgling country that was still being created.
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on 9 February 2014
I love the picture on the cover of t his book. I love Walt Whitman's poem 'There Was a Child Went Forth' had I read no other poems of his I would have known he was a great poet. I wanted to find this poem on the first page as it was in my little hardback book I got in Poole for £2 some years ago. It isn't in this copy. But that's not the sellers fault or the publishers. I used to read from this book on the train from Manchester to Blackpool and made it my aim to try and read the whole song of myself to the end with out my eyes filling with tears so I was unable to read to the end. Delighted to read the poem Captain My Captain after seeing the boys stand on their desks in support of their teacher in the Dead Poets Society. Not read many of Walt Whitman's poems and read some things of his life.
He was a truly great poet and it is clear to me anyway he touched and understood the infinite source of all creation. I still want my little £2 hard backed copy I could fit in my bum bag to walk from Fleetwood to Blackpool with the thin red ribbon to mark my page. Gave up my home to travel abroad a few years ago. Wish taken this book to read.
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on 10 July 2012
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was an innovative American `wandering' poet who produced some very extraordinary and original poems. `Leaves of Grass' (1855) is his first published collection of verse which he continued to revise and extend throughout subsequent editions. It is written in the free verse style which became synonymous with Whitman and also features the poem sequence `Calamus', considered to be quite obscene for its time. It was these poems which gave rise to the many theories concerning Whitman's sexuality, because of the homosexual interpretations of the poems.
Whitman worked as a clerk and during the Civil War he was a volunteer nurse at a hospital and it was during this time that he published another collection of poems called `Drum-Taps' in 1865. As a poet, he seems to invent a new vocabulary in an attempt to create a voice for the New World which is growing up around him: `I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul, / The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me, / The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into a / New tongue.' [Song of Myself] Poems such as: `When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd', `Pioneers! O Pioneers!', `I sing the body electric', `Out of the cradle endlessly rocking', `O Captain! My Captain!', and `Sometimes with one I love' are free from the conventional poetic restrictions and sweet with an almost pagan rejoicing of life! Upon my first reading of the complete poems I was completely surprised at how `modern' Whitman feels in comparison to his English contemporaries, such as Algernon Swinburne (1837-1909), Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) and Robert Browning (1812-1889). His inventive use of words and poetic structure seems totally alien to his period and throughout his works I found myself thrown by a word or a line as if struck by electricity! He is only one of two poets to have done so, the other being the great English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)!
Whitman has a sense of freedom and realism about him and this influenced such writers as D H Lawrence (1885-1939) and Ezra Pound (1885-1972). He may have looked like some Old Testament Prophet or a gruff old mountain man, but he was thinking years ahead of his time!
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on 28 December 2013
Never read any Walt Whitman before buying this excellent compendium of his work. Includes the latest edition of Leaves Of Grass.
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on 19 May 2013
He is a brilliant writer if you can get beyond how winded he is at times. Like Emerson and Thoreau, he's just one of those quintessential American writers whose works must be found in the collection of any bookworm who loves American literature. This is a very affordable collection, so why wouldn't I love it?
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on 12 April 2013
Good price for complete poems. Aimed toward those who are perhaps doing a degree in American Literature. Especially introduction and biography. Recommend if you don't mind exercising one's brain.
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on 8 May 2014
Fantastic book of Walt Whitman poetry. a great poet for those starting out or those who have skipped him.

Positive Passionate and Patriotic
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on 8 October 2015
I love his work, so I got this for my library. Its a nice copy & full of glorious words, What else could you want!
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I think Whitman is a marmite Poet you either absolutely love him or he does nothing for you. I love his earthy cascade of words engendering deep feelings within me but some probably find him pretentious . I can't say that you will love this because poetry is different for different people but it works for me so if you've an open mind. Give it a try
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on 13 May 2015
The book was an incredible price for the joys it has brought me. Walt Whitman has stirred my soul with his poetry, and I advise anyone reading this to start reading his works, even if they don't buy this particular book.
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