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Research Papers on the Poems of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman is one of the most well known American poets. Research papers on the poems of Walt Whitman can focus on their themes, style or how his poetry related to his life. Any topic on Whitman and poetry is possible for the writers at Paper Masters.

Walt Whitman is known as the author of free verse poetry. Whitman included aspects of both transcendentalism and realism in many of his poems. Some of the more famous poems of Walt Whitman can be written on, such as the following:

  • Leaves of Grass
  • Oh Captain! My Captain
  • Beat! Beat! Drums!
  • I Hear America Singing
  • Pioneer, Oh Pioneers

One of Whitman’s most well known works was Leaves of Grass, which he wrote in 1855. This collection of poems ended up being a lifelong project for Whitman because he continued to add and edit the collection all the way until his death. The collection was self-printed by Whitman and he only printed 795 copies of the collection. Whitman wanted the collection to be an American epic. The collection was broken down into 35 separate books and included 20 poems. One of Whitman’s most popular poems included in Leaves of Grass and was untitled until it later was named “Song of Myself.” Whitman’s collection was criticized for its sexual and erotic content.

Whitman Poems

“Oh Captain! My Captain” is another one of Whitman’s famous poems. The poem is about a beloved captain who dies while being at sea. The ship arrives to its destination with much celebration. The speaker wishes the captain would rise from the dead to witness the rejoicing and excitement of the crowd. This poem was written shortly after the assassination of President Lincoln and is a metaphor for his death and the country as a whole after the Civil War. “O’ Captain! My Captain” is the only poem Whitman wrote that used a regular meter instead of free verse.

“Beat! Beat! Drums!” and “Ashes of Soldiers” are two more poems on the theme of the consequences of war. These poems both speak of the sacrifices of all of the soldiers that lost their lives during the Civil War. In “Beat! Beat! Drums!” Whitman uses the loud noise of the instruments as a metaphor for the overwhelming impact war has on society and the effects that can that cannot be escaped. This poem was written at the beginning of the Civil War. In contrast, “Ashes of Soldier’s” was written at the end of the Civil War. Whitman served as a nurse in the Civil War so he witnessed the death of many soldiers. He wrote this poem to give a voice to all of the soldiers who gave their life in the war.

One of the themes in Whitman’s poetry is the American spirit and patriotism. “I Hear America Singing” and “Pioneer, Oh Pioneers” are both patriotic themed poems. In “I Hear America Singing” Whitman highlights the song of America’s working citizens. The speaker in the poem talks about the different songs he hears the different working citizens singing. This poem is viewed as a love song to America. In “Pioneers, Oh Pioneers” Whitman praises the courage and danger that the Pioneers went through in order to travel west.

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