Walt Whitman
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"Walter "Walt" Whitman" was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanism/humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and literary realism/realism, incorporating both views in his works. 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, New York/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. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic poetry/epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. When he died at age 72, his funeral became a public spectacle.

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I exist as I am, that is enough.

After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains.

You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things.

I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends.

The poet judges not as a judge judges but as the sun falling around a helpless thing.

Be curious, not judgmental.

All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.

There is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero.

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.

The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.

If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred.

The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.

Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself.

Other lands have their vitality in a few, a class, but we have it in the bulk of our people.

Not I - not anyone else, can travel that road for you, / You must travel it for yourself.

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.

I say to mankind, Be not curious about God. For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about God - I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least.

Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.

Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?

A great city is that which has the greatest men and women.

Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.

Has anyone supposed it lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her that it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

Wisdom is not finally tested in the schools, Wisdom cannot be pass'd from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Nothing endures but personal qualities.

What is it that you express in your eyes? It seems to me more than all the words I have read in my life.

Either define the moment or the moment will define you.

And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.

This day before dawn I ascended a hill and looked at the crowded heaven.

How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed!

Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.

Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.

Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?

The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.

I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.

The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself.

To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all.