Walt Whitman’s poetic voice displays a number of memorable and characteristic features, including the following:
- patriotism, but not in a narrow, jingoistic sense
- a concern with both the inner and outer, the self and the world
- originality of thought and particularly of expression
- a tone of friendship and affection
Perhaps the most helpful way to get a sense of Whitman’s voice, however, is to actually listen to it carefully as it speaks – as, for instance, in the following excerpt from the very beginning of Leaves of Grass:
One's-self I sing, a simple separate person,
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.
Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say
the Form complete is worthier far,
The Female equally with the Male I sing.
Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I...
(The entire section contains 565 words.)