Walt Whitman, Biography and Background

|Biography and Background| | Lesson Plans for Specific Poems |

American Experience: Walt Whitman
Support for the PBS program, including a timeline and teacher guide.

The Classroom Electric: Dickinson, Whitman, and American Culture
"Users can explore images of original manuscripts, rare photographs, notebooks, scrapbooks, letters, and maps in sites informed by cutting-edge scholarship."

Incomparable Things Said Incomparably Well: Emerson's Extraordinary Letter of Appreciation to Young Walt Whitman
"I greet you at the beginning of a great career," Emerson wrote, and more. Background and text of the letter.

One Life: Walt Whitman, a kosmos
The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery offers a timeline of Whitman's life, commentary, and audio files of excerpts from "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" and "America."

Poet at Work: Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Walt Whitman Collection
The notebooks have been photographed and loaded onto this Web site at the Library of Congress American Memory section.

Revising Himself: Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass
This exhibit from the Library of Congress includes biographical information and photographs of Whitman and other artifacts.

Robert Hass: On Whitman's 'Song Of Myself'
Listen to the interview; read Hass's commentary on the poem.

Walt Whitman
Biography, images, links to several texts.

Walt Whitman
Online materials that serve as an introduction to Whitman's life and style.

Walt Whitman Archive
Manuscripts, criticism, teaching ideas, even an audio file of Whitman reading one of his poems.

Walt Whitman's Notebooks and Poetry: the Sweep of the Universe
To what extent does Whitman's own poetry fulfill his stated goal of combining universal themes with the closely rendered details of personal experience and feeling? In this lesson, students will attempt to answer that question by working with his words in a variety of media. To help them appreciate his artistic practice, students will also have an opportunity to compose poetry modeled on the poet's characteristic method of using the notebooks as a source of the personal experience and universal themes explored in his poems.

Walt Whitman’s War Work: Primary Sources in the English Classroom
These resources from the Library of Congress include suggestions for their classroom use.

The Whitman Project Main Index
Biography, e-texts, manuscripts, notebooks and letters, reviews.