Throughout American history, various authors, journalists, and poets, have been recalled to have changed the view of American society. But one of these poets emerges from this group of people; an influential poet of the 19th century was Walt Whitman, author of the famous poems, "Leaves of Grass," and "O Captain, My Captain." Whitman blends the boundaries of the poetry world, with the American society, by displaying every inch of his mind, and creativity in his works. Through his works in history, he has modernized the way Americans wrote poetry by covering controversial topics, continuing to write even though others were harshly criticizing his poems, and encouraging the American people not to be ashamed of who they are and what they have to offer the world.
Born on May 31, 1819, Whitman was born at West Hills in the town of Huntington, Long Island. Being "the son of Walter Whitman, a carpenter and farmer, and Louisa Van Velsor," he was the "second of eight surviving children" in his family (Loving, American National Biography 1). Whitman received "only an elementary school education and at the age of eleven" and then was later taught to be a printer for the Patriot, Long Island's newspaper (Loving, American National Biography 1). During the time of the American Civil War "Whitman was a government clerk," meanwhile "he was also a volunteer assistant in the military hospitals" treating the injured and wounded (Loving, World Book Student 1). After the war, and retiring from the government department, "he suffered a stroke in 1873" which had him spend the rest of his life in Camden, New Jersey, where he continued to write famous poems and articles. .
Whitman had received little support during his lifetime in his works for several reasons: "[his] openness regarding sex, his self-presentation as a rough working man, and his stylistic innovations" (Poetry Foundation 1).