200 Years Later, a Divided America Needs to Re-learn What Walt Whitman Told Us About Ourselves

Join us in a respite from the daily drumbeat of news to wish the great American poet and champion of our nation’s ideals, Walt Whitman, a happy 200th birthday.We do this not just because Whitman was an editorial writer like us before he changed poetry forever with the 1855 publication of his free-verse masterpiece Leaves of Grass.No, it strikes us instead that Whitman is so relevant now, the still-singing voice of American beauty and wonder from the time of our greatest division.On May 31, 1819, Walter Whitman, the second son a heavy-drinking carpenter, was born not far from New York City. When he was four, the family moved to Brooklyn where his father’s drinking went from bad to worse. Walt quit school at 11 to help support his seven siblings, working as an office boy, then a journeyman printer, teacher and schoolmaster, before becoming a journalist in his early 20s and beginning his lifelong celebration of the nation’s people.  Continue reading...

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