In my opinion the poet which best exemplifies modernism is Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman’s stylistic preference is not exactly mine, but it is definitely a good example of ?modern poetry.? He has broken down many walls of traditional poetry, using the style of long, free verse prose. In which he praises everything.
It is impossible to talk about modern poetry without making any references to traditional poetry. It is not enough to say that Walt Whitman is a pioneer in modern poetry. We must explain what walls he and other poets
have broken. When I speak of traditional poetry one name always comes to mind, that name is William Shakespeare. When I study Shakespeare’s work, especially his sonnets I see exactly what traditional poetry is. It is exact and precise in it’s rhyme scheme, meter, and length. All of Shakespeare’s sonnets are fourteen lines long, with an ABAB (CDCD EFEF GG) rhyme scheme. The syllables in each verse of the poem are exact and in a pattern. Traditional poets thinks of life occurrences are dictated by fate, taking the control away from the people. Modern day poets try to break down these stylistic restrictions by using different types of rhyme, meter and length or sometimes none at all.
Walt Whitman has definitely cut the red tape in poetry. Every restriction I have mentioned he has changed and disregarded. For instance, Whitman does not believe in pre-destination or fate. In essence he believes that the world is what you make of it. He also finds good in everything. To him death is as good as life. Taking a shower is equally as good as smelling horribly. He saw nothing wrong with anything yet he celebrated everything around him. I myself am a fan of Shakespeare and Whitman’s train of thought is bogus to me. But these are the examples of how he has broken away from the styles of the old. To express his ideas he does not use the typical short-rhyme scheme but uses instead very lengthy verses that do not rhyme.
A poem by Walt Whitman, which is a perfect example of this rebellion towards the traditional styles of poetry, is ?Song of Myself.?
Whitman lovers regard this poem as one of the best. It is also one of his most anthologized pieces. The reason for this is probably because it is a perfect example of modern poetry. It is a poem that spans over one thousand three hundred forty five lines of free-verse prose. In the poem Whitman addresses many topics and confronts them with the same attitude, ?everything is all good.? He speaks of life, death, religion, sex and himself. I personally don’t understand how Walt Whitman found good in all things without finding anything bad. In my view of life, I can’t find one without the other.
In conclusion, by the reason stated, I believe that Walt Whitman is the epidemy of modern poetry. He is one of the founding fathers of this relatively new style of writing poetry and is one of the respecting leaders of the art form.
Assignment #2 Option #3