Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

Walt Whitman Quotes

  • ''Rugged, mountainous, volcanic, he was himself more a French revolution than any of his volumes.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Specimen Days (Feb. 10, 1881).
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  • ''I will put in my poems, that with you is heroism, upon land and sea—And
    I will report all heroism from an American point of view.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Starting From Paumanok, sct. 7.
  • ''And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Starting From Paumanok, sct. 13.
  • ''I never see that man without feeling that he is one to become personally attach'd to, for his combination of purest, heartiest tenderness, and native western form of manliness.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. "The Inauguration," March 4, 1865, Specimen Days and Collect (1882).
  • ''The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Leaves of Grass, preface (1855).
  • ''The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Leaves of Grass, preface (1855).
  • ''There is that indescribable freshness and unconsciousness about an illiterate person that humbles and mocks the power of the noblest expressive genius.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Leaves of Grass, preface (1855).
  • ''The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Leaves of Grass, preface (1855).
  • ''As soon as histories are properly told there is no more need of romances.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. Leaves of Grass, preface (1855).
  • ''To have great poets, there must be great audiences too.''
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S. poet. "Ventures on an Old Theme," Notes Left Over (1881). This motto adorned the front of Poetry magazine and was the object of the vitriolic disapproval of Ezra Pound, who, in 1914, wrote in the pages of the magazine: "The artist is not dependent on the multitude of his listeners.... This rabble, this multitude—does not create the great artist. They are aimless and drifting without him." See also Ezra Pound's remark under "the arts."

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Best Poem of Walt Whitman

O Captain! My Captain!

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills; 10
For you bouquets and ...

Read the full of O Captain! My Captain!

To A Historian

YOU who celebrate bygones!
Who have explored the outward, the surfaces of the races--the life
that has exhibited itself;
Who have treated of man as the creature of politics, aggregates,
rulers and priests;
I, habitan of the Alleghanies, treating of him as he is in himself,
in his own rights,
Pressing the pulse of the life that has seldom exhibited itself, (the

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