Walt Whitman (1819–1892) revolutionized American poetry through the eleven editions of his magnum opus, Leaves of Grass, a celebration of the dynamism and diversity of a still-young America. Drum-Taps, first published in 1865, was written out of his experience as a nurse during the Civil War. It is a collection, he once wrote in a letter to a friend, “put together by fits and starts, on the field, in the hospitals as I worked with the soldier boys.”

NYR DAILY

Art-Singing and Heart-Singing

Walt Whitman, 1848

This, said we in our heart, is the true method which must become popular in the United States—which must supplant the stale, second-hand, foreign method, with its flourishes, its ridiculous sentimentality, its anti-republican spirit, and its sycophantic influence, tainting the young taste of the republic.