How would you describe Whitman's poetic voice?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Walt Whitman’s poetic voice displays a number of memorable and characteristic features, including the following:

  • self-confidence
  • plain-spokenness
  • enthusiasm
  • celebration
  • joy
  • idealism
  • 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
  • frankness
  • honesty
  • 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.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on