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HITMAN, WALT, an American poet; born at
West Hills, N. Y., May 31, 1819; died at
Camden, N. J., March 26, 1892. He was educated at the public schools of Brooklyn and New York, and subsequently followed various occupations; among which were those of printer, teacher, carpenter, and journalist, making in the meantime extended tours in the United States and Canada. During the greater
. part of the civil war he served as a volunteer nurse in tne army hospitals; and at its close was appointed a Government clerk at Washington. His first notable work, Leaves of Grass, was published in 1855. It was subsequently much enlarged by successive additions, up to 1881, when he pronounced it “now finished to the end of its opportunities and powers." Besides this, he wrote many poems for periodicals, some of which have been collected into volumes, among which are Drum-Taps (1865); Two Rivulets (1873); Specimen Days and Collect (1883); November Boughs (1885); Sands at Seventy (1888); Goodbye, My Fancy (1892), and Autobiographia (1892), his personal history gleaned from his prose writings. He also published in 1870 a volume of prose essays, entitled Democratic Vistas, which was republished in 1888, with a new Preface. His Complete Poems and Prose appeared in one volume in the same year. Mr. Whitman's poems are marked by numerous idiosyncrasies in regard to the choice of topics, and to rhythmical form, which have furnished occasion for much criticism, favorable and unfavorable.