When he died at age 72, his funeral became a public spectacle.
Walter Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, in West Hills, Town of Huntington, Long Island, to parents with interests in Quaker thought, Walter and Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. named three of his seven sons after American leaders: Andrew Jackson, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.
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Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse.
His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
Born in Huntington on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and—in addition to publishing his poetry—was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War.
Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842).
Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money.