On this day in 1819 one of the most influential American poets was born—Walt Whitman. Often referred to as the father of free verse, Whitman published 6 books of poetry before his death in 1892—the most famous of which being Leaves of Grass in 1855. Kenneth C. Davis, author of the Don’t Know Much About series, has written a “Don’t Know Much About Walt Whitman” post on his blog today, sharing little known facts about the poet.
On our list, HarperCollins is proud to have Essential Whitman, a collection of his works curated by Galway Kinnell, featuring 18 of the poet’s works.
If you’d like an even more conclusive look into the life, work, and legacy of Walt Whitman, you should read Justin Kaplan’s National Book Award-winning Walt Whitman: A Life. Here, Kaplan presents a moving, penetrating, sharply focused portrait of America’s greatest poet—his genius, his passions, his androgynous sensibility—an exuberant life entwined with the turbulent history of mid-19th century America.