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The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 28, 1977


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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (July 28, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140422226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140422221
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was born on Long Island and educated in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a printer's devil, journeyman compositor, itinerant schoolteacher, editor, and unofficial nurse to Northern and Southern soldiers.


Francis Murphy is professor emeritus of English at Smith College.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, near Huntington, Long Island, New York. On July 4, 1855, the first edition of Leaves of Grass, the volume of poems that for the next four decades would become his lifes work, was placed on sale. Although some critics treated the volume as a joke and others were outraged by its unprecedented mixture of mysticism and earthiness, the book attracted the attention of some of the finest literary intelligences. His poetry slowly achieved a wide readership in America and in England, where he was praised by Swinburne and Tennyson. (D. H. Lawrence later referred to Whitman as the"greatest modern poet, and"the greatest of Americans. Whitman suffered a stroke in 1873 and was forced to retire to Camden, New Jersey, where he would spend the last twenty years of his life. There he continued to write poetry, and in 1881 the seventh edition of Leaves of Grass was published to generally favorable reviews. However, the book was soon banned in Boston on the grounds that it was obscene literature. In January 1892 the final edition of Leaves of Grass appeared on sale, and Whitman's life work was complete. He died two months later on the evening of March 26, 1892, and was buried four days afterward at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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His verse is precise, winding, and a delight to read.
God Bless the Midwest
If a person is just begining to experience the poet, everyting someone would want to read is at his or her fingertips.
liz
I definetely recommend this book to any Walt Whitman fan, and to those that appreciate American poetry.
M. Salmond

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By liz on December 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This collection of Whitman's poetry has the ulitimate selection for any reader, whether one is experienced in the composition and analyzation of Whitman or simply reading for pleasure. The book contains every known work by the author, as well as numerous editions of poems such as "Song of Myself" which was revised and reprinted by the author several times. If one is a fan of Walt Whitman, this is an excellent source of all his poetry compact into one book. If a person is just begining to experience the poet, everyting someone would want to read is at his or her fingertips.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By CNewland on December 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
I love Whitman unspeakably, and the reason why I bought this volume was so I could have all of his poems together, as the book advertises. I actually bought this book from Borders several years ago, but I wanted to leave a review here because there was something I noticed which bears mentioning. During my previous semester in college I was writing a paper on Whitman's "Live Oak, with Moss", and found out that there are two versions of it. There is the first version, the unedited one, and there is the second one, which Whitman himself changed (minimal changes to the actual wording of the poems), and he also scattered the different sections throughout Calamus so the meaning couldn't be derived, as it was very controversial for the time. However, in recent years one scholar (whose name I can't remember at the moment) discovered the original version, unedited and in its uninterrupted entirety. Curious about what version was in this Complete Poems volume I checked it against the copy I had from a text book. To my (admitted) horror, the edited version is the only one included in this volume. Not only that, but it is still scattered all over, not all contained even in the Calamus section. Considering that this was put together by Penguin, and it's advertised as being "complete", I'm very disappointed in this presentation- not only that, but part of me is fairly horrified, as the discovery of the real edition of "Live Oak, with Moss" was made only recently, and this edition has also been recently updated. I'm still giving this book four stars because I do love Whitman, and besides this discrepancy it really is an impressive volume. I do hope the people at Penguin will realize and put out another addition, this time actually a complete one.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Mickey Callaghan on February 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Walt Whitman is, indisputably, America's poet. He is vast, large, contradictory (Do I contradict myself?/Very well then I contradict myself/(I am large, I contain multitudes)), beautiful and loose and American to the core!

His greatest poem is, in my opinion, "Song of Myself." This is far from a controversial opinion, and for good reason; the eighty-odd page long poem is an astounding epic--albeit, an unusual one, but a monumental achievement of literature. It is Whitman as Everyman, Whitman as you, as me, as all other mortals from China to Peru. I quote his beautiful closing stanzas:

"I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I
Love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you"

Such beauty in verse, especially free verse, is scarcely found, and, when found, must be cherished. There is a reason almost all poets after him--and not just poets in the English language, either (Borges, for example, aspired to be the "Whitman of Argentina")--have been influenced by him more so than any other poet besides perhaps Shakespeare and Milton.

Nor is "Song of Myself" his only great poem, though it surely be his greatest. His elegy for Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" is monumental (the great critic Harold Bloom declares it Whitman's finest poem, and thus the greatest of all American poems--I dissent, but uphold its marvel nonetheless), as is almost all of his wonderful corpus of poetry. Whitman is remarkable; he is inescapable; he is beautiful. Read him, and thou shalt be infinitely rewarded.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Afony on May 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Whitman is a special poet. As you read through his poems you get the feeling that you are not reading poetry but rather going through Whitman's mind. His compulsive style both simple and meticulous, his whirling rhythym, and his proud usage of the first person, all give you a vivid glimpse of the world through his eyes and heart; the eyes of his time and the poetic heart of his thoughts. Yet even though Whitman talks to you in social vocab. you know that you are listening to a poet because ast is ineveitable to sense his power to overwhelm. Lorca described Whitman as "viejo" and "hermoso", and these descriptions are true of Whitman the poet as Whitman the man. After reading this book you'll be short of words to describe it as I appear to be. It has too much inside it. But it is beautiful because the words inside it come from a man who knew how to appreciate and merge with the antiquity and great elderiness of the world.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Where Waldo? on May 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers every one of the many, many revisions of Leaves of Grass. Great for enjoymen as well as research.
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