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Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892) and William Carlos Williams (1883 - 1963) are two American poets, who have significantly influenced contemporary literature. Whitman and Williams brought new ideas into poetry and many outstanding American poets of the twentieth century name Whitman and Williams as their tutors. Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams belong to different generations and social circles, but many literary critics, authors and linguists agree that Williams proceeds the ideas of Whitman. Walt Whitman is born in the family of nine children and all of his life he tries to support himself. He works as the editor and the journalist and after he witnesses the terrors of the American Civil War in 1962, he moves to Washington, D. C. , where he works as nurs and helps to support the hospital financially.
Whitman is fascinated with human body, he writes a poem So og Myself, in which he praises the beauty of it, and he can not stay calm seeing what harms brings the war. Whitman writes: If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred. (Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric) The most famous work by Walt Whitman and his only poetic book is the Leaves of Grass. Whitman himself first publishes this book in 1855. During later years Whitman continues to edit this book, add new sections and poems, and during his life the book is re-issued in many variations. Whitman is concerned with style, form and language of his poetry. Walt Whitman writes about American society, he explores the reality of everyday life with its benefits and drawbacks.
He is not romanticizing the life; instead he reveals all aspects of society and role of the person in it. Whitman is interested in abolitionism ideas 1 Walt Whit man. Preface to November Boughs, Leaves of Grass. (1888) and in his poetry he straightforwardly admits to have African-American lover, who is supposed to be male by literary critics. Whitman's poetry is totally optimistic, he writes about life around him, about things that can be found in every corner of the country and he loves what he writes about: I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear, / Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else, / The day what belongs to the day-at night the party of young / fellows, robust, friendly, / Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs. (Whitman, Song of Myself) Whitman's audience can easily understand his poetry, because he writes about simple things using simple language. He is America entirely free from the renaissance humanist ideal of the complete man of from the Greek idealism, he is content to be what he is, and he is his time and his people. (Ezra Pound) William Carlos Williams is very often compared to Walt Whitman. Williams virtually continues what Whitman started, because he begins his poetic career shortly after Whitman's death.
Williams pursues medical career, attends medical schools abroad and in America and during his busy time in Europe and alongside active medical career manages to write multiple poems. Williams shares Whitman's fascination with human body and he dedicates much efforts to his medical work. In 1949 he also publishes a poem The Pink Church about human body, but audience saw communist motifs and this poem had negative influence on his career. Williams corresponds to Whitman in his choice of the main theme of his poetry: both poets choose America as their main theme and muse and they portray American life in all its aspects. The literary means of both poets also share many similar features.
Williams and Whitman pay much attention to form and sound of the poetry. The poetry of Williams is characterized by unique form, which is used in order to highlight his admiration of America. The poet finds absolutely new form, which reflects reality of resident American life. The pauses and breaks of the poets triadic line in his works imitate the speech and ragged rhythm of jazz music
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Research essay sample on Walt Whitman And William Carlos Williams