Leaves of Grass – Book 1 – Poems of Walt Whitman – FULL Audio Book – Poetry

American poet Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” is a massive collection of poems comprised of a stunning 35 books and is notable for its praise of the senses, during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral. Prior to the writing of Leaves of Grass, most English language poetry relied on symbolism, allegory, and meditation on religious and spiritual topics. Leaves of Grass is a stark contrast, as it glorifies the body and material world above all else.

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This is a recording of Book 1 of 35

Book 1 — 00:00:00 – 00:29:58
Read by: Gord Mackenzie

— More about Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” —

Walt Whitman was inspired to begin work on Leaves of Grass after reading an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson in which he expressed a need for a uniquely American poet. When the book was first published, Whitman sent a copy to Emerson, whose complimentary letter of response aided in its success. President Abraham Lincoln, a personal hero of Whitman, is noted to have read and thoroughly enjoyed an early version of Leaves of Grass. Despite critical acclaim, Whitman faced charges of creating obscene, immoral work, but this inadvertently added to the popularity of his book.

Whitman continually revised and republished Leaves of Grass throughout his lifetime, most notably adding the “Drum-Taps” section after Lincoln’s assassination. The book grew from 12 poems in its first publication. to nearly 400 poems in its final version (the “Death Bed Edition”).

This is a Librivox recording. All Librivox recordings are in the public domain.
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