First published in 1855, Leaves of Grass focused on who he thought he should’ve been. With this in mind, a few themes that stick out are the meanings of personality and identity. At the same time, Walt Whitman‘s poems were to transcend into spirituality and the soul. Second, using his own life experiences, he created powerful imagery that changed the way people read poetry. That is to say, as time went on with new experiences, Whitman continued to edit this book until 1892 for the final edition. However, two months later, Walt Whitman passed on March 26th, while his book continued to sell.
Overall, Leaves of Grass was written during a four-decade period. Within some of the bigger points of the poems, there are subtexts that mention; democracy, naturalism, mortality, and the supernatural. To clarify these ideas were all examined under the observations of Walt Whitman and his own experiences with them. Significantly, Whitman found it important to also discuss the meaning of poetry and how to write it. Yet, his philosophies and belief systems changed as he grew to understand more of himself and society through time. Altogether, these poems blend into a synergy of life understanding and context surrounding it.
First Edition To Feelings Of Democracy
In addition, the first edition of his book did not have his name and only contained a total of twelve poems. However, looking back, Whitman added titles to the poems and posted his name on the second edition. Then he focused on the rhyme scheme of these poems because he was afraid to sound rhetorical. When he finished this part, he took an interest in the idea of democracy, in which everyone is granted the right to be equal. Whenever people reference his morality and wish to continue democracy, they could point to the poem “Song of Myself” because it shows how America’s grass of unity grows.
Poet Of The Soul
As time pressed on, his revision process became well-developed. Most readers point to The Sleepers as his best work over his entire career. For one thing, in this revision phase, Whitman questions the capabilities of humans and their flaws. Whether the pieces of writing talked about life, death, gender, or other limitations, he grew curious about how everyone’s dreams were distinct. Notably, Whitman portrayed himself through these big questions; to what his limitations were and his soul’s identity. By all means, his spirituality was in question here because he wondered how one man could impact the meaning of living.
Respect of The Body
During this edit, a lot more poems were added to the previous collection. In reality, at the time, his ideas of self-image and body acceptance lacked popularity. Moreover, Whitman continued on the path to talk about the body and how a human views their own. Uniquely, he dove into the topics of sexuality and gender, alluding to the fact that he respected his own body and valued it as well. After all, the newest poems wrote about nature and higher powers. In the end, Whitman discussed respect for the body and soul when he mentioned the love between two men in the section “Children Of Adam.”
Eventually, the last edition had a total of four-hundred poems and was called the Deathbed edition. Instantly, this book grew in popularity as it became known as an American classic. As a result, former president Abraham Lincoln liked the book. Since the Civil War impacted Whitman’s life, it ended with him feeling optimistic for the future. Consequently, his expression of the soul and as an individual were different from writers of his time. On the whole, some of his poems explored sexual desires in an open and accepting mindset. Thus, his own experiences influenced the way he viewed these ideas and made him less traditional than people of his time.
In conclusion, Leaves of Grass was not just a set of poems but a personal narrative of Whitman’s life. Altogether, this book is still a popular choice for poetry readers. Overall, the fact he continued to edit his poems as time passed and changed along with his beliefs shows his dedication to philosophy and the meaning of life. Finally, Leaves Of Grass was the ending of his career and his most memorable writing before his sudden death. Later, one can argue that with the passing of a few more decades, his book will still be mentioned and examined for its poetic intelligence.
Looking to learn more about poet Walt Whitman? Keep reading here.