When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
And the great star early droop'd in the Western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Bloomsbury Poetry Classics are selections from the work of some of our greatest poets. The series is aimed at the general reader rather than the specialist and carries no critical or explanatory apparatus. This can be found elsewhere. In the series the poems introduce themselves, on an uncluttered page and in a format that is both attractive and convenient. The selections have been made by the distinguished poet, critic, and biographer Ian Hamilton.
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The poetry of Walt Whitman is the cornerstone of modern American verse. He was America's first truly great poet and his influence is still evident today. The first edition of Whitman's Leaves of Grass, published in 1855, was a revolutionary manifesto declaring America's independence from European cultural domination. His rhapsodic free verse broke radically with poetic, tradition: it was poetry about America, its democracy, its people, and its hopes. It was uniquely American without apology—brash, proud, optimistic, and filled with the bustling energy of the new and growing nation.
This collection brings together Whitman's greatest and most famous poems spanning the whole of his career. From the groundbreaking first edition of Leaves of Grass are seven poems, including "Song of Myself" and "I Sing the Body Electric."
From later editions there are such masterpieces as "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," and "I Hear America Singing." Also included is Whitman's great cycle of Civil War Poems, Drum-Taps, which he wrote in the months when he was ministering to the wounded in battlefield hospitals. Concluding this collection is one of his last poems, "Good-bye My Fancy!"—his touching farewell to his muse, his life, and his readers.
More than one hundred years after his death, Walt Whitman's poetry has become part of the American heritage. It is a visionary which speaks as aptly to readers today as it will to future generations. As he says in "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "others...look back on me because I look'd forward to them." Whitman's poetry is a link that connects all Americans—past, present, and future.
This book features a deluxe cover, ribbon marker, top stain, and decorative endpaper with a nameplate.
Walt Whitman was born in 1819. He worked as a journalist and newspaper editor for many years before the appearance of his Leaves of Grass in 1855. First acclaimed in England, Whitman's "liquid, billowy waves" of unrhymed, unmetered verse have been deeply influential in the shaping of modern American poetics. During the Civil War, Whitman worked as an "unofficial nurse," tending the wounded of both sides in army hospitals. He suffered a stroke in 1873, and thereafter lived in semiretirement in Camden, New Jersey, until his death in 1892.
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