Walter Whitman is best known for his incorporation of transcendentalist ideas into his works. Born in 1819 as one of 9 to Quaker parents he finished his education by 11 and began working as an office boy for a law firm then an apprentice for a printer. After a bit of moving around and some job changes Walt decided to become a poet and began working on Leaves of Grass, later paying for its publication. The first poem is what is now called “Song of Myself”. Later, during the American Civil War, he wrote my personal favorite of his poems’ “Beat! Beat! Drums!”. He wrote on a variety of subjects such as slavery, sexuality, and religion.
He is well remembered for a line from “Song of Myself”:
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.One of the reason I’m sharing bits of “Song of Myself” instead of “Beat!” Beat! Drums!” is because the very talented Allen Crawford will be releasing an illustrated version of “Song of Myself” titled Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself. I also encourage everyone to read the full poem even though it is really long.