Walt Whitman and his Works
Walt Whitman is considered to be one of the few greatest poets to ever exist. He wrote multiple poems but seemed to be most famous for his poem “leaves of grass.” Whitman did a lot of great things with his work throughout his years of living and influenced other people but more so writers. He influenced some people before his death and continued to do the same even after his death. Two poets that he influenced were Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsberg. Whitman’s work wasn’t only good for himself; it was influential to different writers because they completed and studied work that was just like his or similar.
Langston Hughes was one of the two writers that Whitman influenced. Hughes was a poet who was foremost known for all of his wonderful work throughout the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes work and Whitman’s work seemed to be quiet the same in some areas. Both of the men’s work seemed to reflect on romanticism. Walt Whitman’s belief was that America is perfect, but Hughes didn’t feel the same way because of the way African Americans were being treated. Hughes is against African Americans being mistreated and he uses what Whitman says to try and fight for justice for the African America race. One of Hughes poems “The Negro Speaks of River” resembles the same writing style and also form as Whitman. Hughes writing resembled Whitman’s because he saw Whitman as one of the bosses of poetry in America and he was like a role model because he looked up to him. When the civil war and everything ended Whitman had no choice but to realize that the nation wasn’t what he expected it to be. The poems that Whitman wrote after the war was terrible and the poems talked about all the bad things that he experienced while being apart of the war. Just like Whitman, Hughes experienced some changes in his America following World War II, that made blacks want to battle for equality. We begin to see a gloomy type of Harlem in Hughes works, just like Walt Whitman Hughes started to think that the nation won’t ever be the type of world black people were hoping for.
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Another poet that Whitman was influential to is Allen Ginsberg. Allen Ginsberg was also a poet. He was also considered to be a great figure during his years of living just like Whitman and still remains to be the same even after his death. Ginsberg was best known for his poem “Howl.” Ginsberg’s poem “Sunflower Sutra” and Walt Whitman’s “Passage to India” resemble the most out of all of their poems. According to Whitman “I see over my own continent the Pacific railroad surmounting every barrier, I see continual trains of cars winding along the Platte carrying freight and passengers, I hear the locomotives rushing and roaring, and the shrill steam-whistle, I hear the echoes reverberate through the grandest scenery in the world.” In both of the poems the authors are writing on the admiration of nature and the increase of industrialization in the west part of the world.
In Ginsberg poem he also writes about the beauty of nature in the sunflower in the western part of the world. He states, “Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty old locomotive? the ghost of a locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive?” As you can see like stated above both of the writer’s poem resembles. Whitman was someone who Ginsberg looked up to and was also a reason why he wrote some of his poems. As you can see Whitman was very influential to Ginsberg and it can be proven throughout their similar writings.
Whitman’s work will forever live on and cannot possibly be forgotten. Whitman’s work was essential to him his years on his earth but never knew that it would be influential to all kinds of people today especially writers. Whitman influenced people to write using a similar writing style as him, but he also influenced people just by reading his poems. Whitman will forever be on the greatest poets that ever existed, and his legacy will continue to live on through many poets, people, and things that he was very influential too.