PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There are celebrations around the country, and Camden in particular, on Tuesday for the 192nd birthday of the poet Walt Whitman. He died in Camden in 1892.
To say that Walt Whitman influenced today’s reality shows might be a stretch, but the poet did cross a major line in literature in his poem A Song of Myself. Dr. J.T Barbarese is associate professor of English at Rutgers University-Camden.
“Whitman made it possible for people to talk about their own lives in poetry, directly. He introduced the element of autobiography. To some people, this was embarrassing,” said Dr. J.T Barbarese, Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Camden. “It probably cost him a job with the Lincoln administration, as a couple of biographers have noted, because they were not very happy with the sexual implications of his poetry.”
Whitman is also called the father of free verse, another example of his legacy of breaking through bonds and boundaries that is still influencing culture today.
Reported by Karin Phillips, KYW Newsradio