At the time of its publication, Whitman’s controversial poetry collection Leaves of Grass, with its overt sexuality, was considered by many to be obscene.
In fact, the collection is an epic celebration of modern American life that reaches out to the common man. Whitman published the first edition privately in 1855, without his name appearing on the title page, but some way into the text he describes himself as "Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos,/Disorderly fleshy and sensual... eating drinking and breeding,/No sentimentalist... no stander above men and women or apart from them.../No more modest than immodest."
Born on this day in 1819, Whitman was a vocal proponent of the temperance movement, so we hope he wouldn't mind us drinking to his fine poem with a Grassy Finnish.
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