Leaves of Grass is a collection of poems by the American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Although the first edition was published in 1855, Whitman spent much of his professional life writing and rewriting Leeds of Grass, revising it several times until his death. This resulted in different editions over four decades — the first, a short book of twelve poems and the last, a compilation of over 400.
The poems of grass leaves are loosely interwoven, each of which celebrates Whitman’s philosophy of life and humanity. This book is notable for its discussion of pleasure in erotic pleasure at a time when such explicit performances were considered immoral. Where previous poetry, particularly English, relied on symbolism, metaphor and meditation on religious and spiritual, the Leaves of Grass (especially the first ed.) Expanded the body and the physical world. Influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalist movement, itself a part of Romanticism, Whitman’s poetry praises nature and the role of the individual human in it. However, like Emerson, Whitman does not reduce the role of mind or soul; Rather, he elevates the human form and the human mind, making both worthy of poetic praise.
With one exception, the poems do not use or follow standard rules for meter and line length. The poems of the collection are “Song of Myself”, “I Sing the Body Electric” and “Out of the Cradle Endless Rocking”. Later editions include the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in Whitman’s assassination, “when Lilacus Dorriard was last in Bloomdale”.
Leeds of Grass was highly controversial during its time for its explicit sexual fantasy, and Whitman was subject to ridicule by many contemporary critics. Over time, however, the collection has infiltrated popular culture and is recognized as one of the central works of American poetry.
Publication history and origin
Grass has his origins in an essay called The Posse in Ralph Waldo Emerson, published in 1844, that expressed the need for the United States to be its own new and unique poet to write about the virtues and juices of the new country. Whitman, reading the essay, consciously set out to answer Emerson’s call as he began working on the first edition of Leeds of Grass. Whitman, however, diminished Emerson’s influence, stating that, “I was tempting, trembling, trembling; Emerson boiled me down”.
Kenneth Goldsmith performed a performance at Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” on May 11, 2011, at a White House concert during President Obama and Poets at the White House Music and Arts Podcast.
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On May 15, 1855, Whitman filed the title Leeds of Grass with the clerk of the United States District Court, Southern District of New Jersey and obtained its copyright. The first edition was published on July 4, 1855, in Brooklyn, at the printing shop of two Scottish immigrants, James and Andrew Rome, whom Whitman had known since the 1840s. The shop was located at Fulton Street (now Cadman Plaza West) and Cranberry Street, now the site of the apartment buildings named after Whitman. Whitman paid for typesetting himself for the first edition. The book did not include the author’s name, and instead Samuel Hollier offered Whitman an engraving showing him with work clothes and a Johnny hat, weapons on his side. early advertisements in the first edition saw “lovers of literary curiosity” as an oddity. [edition] Book sales were low, but Whitman was not discouraged.
Leaves of Grass Book by Walt Whitman
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