the romantic poets walt whitman and emily dickinson

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  • WALT WHITMAN 1819-1892

  • He came from a large family (seven brothers and sisters)Had the opportunity to live in both a country setting and the city of New York (Brooklyn)He attended school until he was eleven, then worked as a printers assistant and a teacherBACKGROUND

  • Worked in journalism until the age of thirtyMoved to New Orleans to continue journalismEventually returned to New York as a journalist and part-time carpenter/contractor.He kept journals and diaries that became the basis for much of his literary work.BACKGROUND

  • Based on cadence, which is the long, easy sweep of sound that echoes the Bible and the speeches or orators and preachers.Cadence was the base for free verse, which is poetry without rhyme or meter.In 1855, he published his most important collection of poetry, Leaves of Grass. He revised it nine times before his death in 1892.POETRYO captain! my captain! our fearful trip is done; The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won; The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the stead keel, the vessel grim and daring.

  • Frequently uses catalogs the piling up of images or concrete detailsExample from Song of MyselfMy tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air/Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same (lines 6-7)


  • His catalogs here represent the spiritual unity among all forms of being.He frequently uses parallelismthe repeated use of phrases, clauses, or sentences that are similar in structure or meaning.Use of parallelism helps to create a sense of unity within his poetry and it also provides a structure, creates a rhythm, and emphasizes important ideas.STYLE

  • Uses free verse verse that has irregular meter and line length Whitman was the first American poet to use free verse.His use of free verse allowed him to express himself without restraintSTYLE

  • 1830-1886EMILY DICKINSONWe never know how high we are Till we are called to rise; And then, if we are true to plan, Our statures touch the skies. Hope is a thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without words And never stops at all.

  • Born into a wealthy New England family and had a happy childhood. Everyone assumed she would grow up to marry and have a family.At 24, her father took her on a business trip to separate Emily from a drastic situationshe had fallen in love with a married man she could never marry.BACKGROUNDBeauty is not caused. It is. Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes.

  • Ironically, while on the trip, she fell in love with another married man, Charles Wadsworth, a Presbyterian minister. She was once again separated from the man she loved.She then withdrew from all social life except involving her family.BACKGROUND

  • Within a few years, Emily was dressing in all white and lived in total seclusion.Her only activities included writing her poems and household chores.EMILY ALONE!

  • She only printed a handful of her poems during her lifetime.However, she made sure that she left bundles of her poems to be found after her death.Family and friends edited her poems and published them in numerous installments.Her poems were brief and contained brilliant metaphors. EMILYS POETRY

  • Uses unconventional punctuation and capitalizationMost of her lines and stanzas are very briefMost of her poetry is writing in quatrainsUsually, only the second and fourth lines in her quatrains rhyme.She often uses slant or partial rhymes.She has a tendency to use figurative language to convey her ideas.EMILYS STYLE

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