Walt Whitman's poetry expresses an enlarged vision that encompasses the universe in a broad way, in expansive outward gestures and long poems. In contrast, Dickinson's poetry is interior, dealing with her states of mind, and is short and compact.
In the opening lines of Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric," in Song of Myself, he reveals an embrace of the many, a vastness of vision, describing those he loves as no less than armies:
I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them
This is highly energized, electric verse. But if Whitman wants to sing his feelings in a way that includes all the world, Dickinson, on the other hand, eschews the grand stage. In "I am Nobody! Who are You?", she writes a compact poem in favor of a reclusive vision:
I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you—Nobody— too? Then there’s a pair of us! Don’t tell! they’d advertise—you know! How dreary—to be— Somebody! How public—like a Frog—To tell one’s name—the...
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