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WALT WHITMAN FATHER OF AMERICAN POETRY 1819-1892.

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Presentation on theme: "WALT WHITMAN FATHER OF AMERICAN POETRY 1819-1892."— Presentation transcript:

1 WALT WHITMAN FATHER OF AMERICAN POETRY

2 Early Life  Born on Long Island & raised in Brooklyn  No formal education, but very well read  Sir Walter Scott  Shakespeare  Homer  Dante  Trained to be a printer  Alternated between printing and journalism

3  Became Editor of The Brooklyn 27  Fired in 1848 because of his opposition to slavery  Traveled cross-country before going to work on a paper in New Orleans  observed the diversity of the American landscape and people  “I Hear America Singing”  1850: quit journalism to devote his energy to his writing

4 Whitman: The Poet  Heavily influenced by Emerson’s vision of a “new kind of American poet”  Writing broke every poetic tradition of rhyme and meter  Free verse  Celebrated America and the common man  1855: 1 st Edition of Leaves of Grass  Highly criticized  Whittier (noted Fireside poet) threw his copy in the fire  Emerson touted the collection as “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed”

5 Leaves of Grass  Whitman’s “life work”  Continually revised, reshaped, and expanded the collection until his death in 1892  Viewed the collection as a single long poem that expressed his evolving vision of the world  Used his poetry to convey his beliefs  Democracy  Equality  Spiritual unity  Potential of the human spirit

6 Leaves of Grass  1 st Edition: 1855  12 unsigned and untitled poems  “Deathbed” Edition: 1892  383 poems  Captures diversity of the American people  Conveys the energy and intensity of all types of life

7 Whitman: Style  Epic theme: all people of all times are connected by their shared experience of life  Free Verse:poetry with irregular meter and line length; sounds like natural speech; does not follow strict rules or formulas **Whitman is the 1 st American poet to write in free verse

8 Whitman: Style  Long Lines  Catalogues/Lists  Anaphora:the repetition of phrases or sentences with similar structures or meanings  Diction: word choice  Onomatopoeia: words whose sound imitate their meaning YAWP!

9 “SONG OF MYSELF” page 428

10 1 1. Look at stanza 1, how does this stanza convey epic theme? 2. What does Whitman mean in stanza 3 when he writes “My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air” 3. What attribute of Whitman’s writing/life is he referring to in the 4 th stanza? 4. Original energy = ___________?

11 6 1. What does this section reveal about Whitman’s attitude about life and death? 2. What is the connotation of each of the following words: a) Onward b) Outward c) Luckier

12 9 1. What is the overall tone of this section? 2. What is the image that Whitman creates in this section? 3. Why might he include this content in “Song of Myself”

13 14 1. What aspects of life does this section celebrate?

14 17 1. What ideas are emphasized in this section? 2. How does the structure of the stanza reinforce its message?

15 51 1. How is this section different than the others in this excerpt? 2. What is the overall message of this section? 3. What is the tone of the section? 4. How does this section fit into the final edition of this collection?

16 52 Analyze the following lines: I too an not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world. I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop somewhere waiting for you.

17 Whitman’s Style “hunt” Find an example of each attribute of Walt Whitman’s style. Write the attribute this line illustrates, the poem section, and the line from the text.

18 “I HEAR AMERICA SINGING” page 435

19 Analysis Questions 1. What do the “varied carols” represent? 2. Identify two aspects of Whitman’s style that are most evident in this poem. 3. How do we see epic theme in this piece? 4. What types of people does Whitman include in the poem (List them! There are 12.) 5. What image of America does Whitman portray in this poem? 6. In the final lines Whitman makes a distinction between the day and the night. Analyze these final lines.

20 Group Writing Assignment  Presumably after his trip cross-country, Whitman writes “I Hear America Singing” to illustrates the diversity and drive of the American people.  In your small groups, write an imitation of Whitman’s piece about UHS. Utilize similar stylistic elements in your writing.  Your Title: “We Hear UHS Singing”


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