45. WALT WHITMAN: O me! O Life!
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was one of the most important poets ever and is considered the father of ‘free verse’ poetry. O Me! O Life! is an example of free verse as it doesn’t rhyme, follow any structure and sounds more like prose than poetry. The poem was published in Whitman’s seminal work Leaves of Grass, which he revised and published again and again for most of his life (he was the George Lucas of poetry!). What I found fascinating was that Whitman worked various jobs as a young adult – printer, newspaper editor, journalist, teacher – and was so passionate about poetry that he published the first edition of Leaves of Grass with his own money. Go Walt!
- Well, the story of ‘the kid’ continues (I haven’t given him a name yet). This is how I translated the poem but I’d be interested to hear if you interpreted it completely different to me.
– Thanks to Jen for submitting this.