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Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Trivia (5)  | Personal Quotes (77)

Overview (2)

Born in Long Island, New York, USA
Died in Camden, New Jersey, USA  (pneumonia)

Trivia (5)

The Walt Whitman Bridge connecting Camden (NJ) to Philadelphia (PA) is named in his honor.
He was nominated for the 2007 New Jersey Hall of Fame for his services to history. He was elected to it in 2008.
He is considered one of the most important poets in American literature.
Did not start writing until he was in his mid-30s.
He worked as a carpenter, schoolteacher, hospital orderly and journalist before writing.

Personal Quotes (77)

Re-examine all that you have been told . . . dismiss that which insults your soul.
Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine--and shadows will fall behind you.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Oh while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me.
I exist as I am, that is enough.
After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear--what remains? Nature remains.
I see great things in baseball. It's our game--the American game.
Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?
I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.
Be curious, not judgmental.
There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.
I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends.
If you done it, it ain't bragging.
Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
The genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges, or churches, or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors, but always most in the common people.
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.
I cannot be awake for nothing looks to me as it did before, Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep.
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.
Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself.
In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.
Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
I accept reality and dare not question it.
I may be as bad as the worst, but, thank God, I am as good as the best.
To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
The future is no more uncertain than the present.
I say that democracy can never prove itself beyond cavil, until it founds and luxuriantly grows its own forms of art, poems, schools, theology, displacing all that exists, or that has been produced anywhere in the past, under opposite influences.
Speech is the twin of my vision, it is unequal to measure itself, it provokes me forever, it says sarcastically, Walt you contain enough, why don't you let it out then?
Let that which stood in front go behind, let that which was behind advance to the front, let bigots, fools, unclean persons, offer new propositions, let the old propositions be postponed.
O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you, you express me better than I can express myself.
Nothing endures but personal qualities.
Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.
Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
There is that indescribable freshness and unconsciousness about an illiterate person that humbles and mocks the power of the noblest expressive genius.
There is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheeled universe.
Other lands have their vitality in a few, a class, but we have it in the bulk of our people.
The words of my book nothing, the drift of it everything.
And there is no trade or employment but the young man following it may become a hero.
The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it.
Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.
Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?
Whoever degrades another degrades me, And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.
The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.
I heard what was said of the universe, heard it and heard it of several thousand years; it is middling well as far as it goes - but is that all?
To die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
The beautiful uncut hair of graves.
The great city is that which has the greatest man or woman: if it be a few ragged huts, it is still the greatest city in the whole world.
Here or henceforward it is all the same to me, I accept Time absolutely.
The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.
The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual.
The real war will never get in the books.
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones.
He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher.
And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.
Produce great men, the rest follows.
All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor.
Have you heard that it was good to gain the day? I also say it is good to fall, battles are lost in the same spirit in which they are won.
I say to mankind, Be not curious about God. For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about God--I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least.
And I will show that nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
To have great poets, there must be great audiences.
The beauty of independence, departure, actions that rely on themselves.
Freedom--to walk free and own no superior.
Simplicity is the glory of expression.
Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.
The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise man sees in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself.
To the real artist in humanity, what are called bad manners are often the most picturesque and significant of all.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune. I myself am good fortune.
Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy.
A great city is that which has the greatest men and women.
If any thing is sacred, the human body is sacred.
Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
We convince by our presence.
This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

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