The Similarities And Differences Of Walt Whitman And Herman Melville's Poetry

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One’s view of poetry is extremely personal. With over fifty-five different formal styles of poetry to choose from (Kennedy & Gioia 681-717) no two individual’s tastes will coincide, the same can be said for poets. No one will argue that Walt Whitman and Herman Melville have vastly different techniques for chronicling the events they experienced. This is especially true for the author’s interpretations of events leading up to, throughout, and after the American Civil War. Although they approached their subject from the same vantage point, that of the Union or Northern Army, both author’s writing styles could not be more different. Melville and Whitman’s family history, personal experiences, professional interactions and literary notoriety all factor into their chosen poetic style and content. The following is a critical analysis of these similarities and differences using select works from Melville’s Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The list of recommended poems is not sufficient to adequately fulfill this requirement. For thoroughness, additional poems…show more content…
Preparation for war and the optimism and exuberance of youth ultimately leading to a predetermined end, death and discouragement, is the theme of the poem. The rhythm or meter is predominately Iambic Tetrameter with occasional Trochaic Tetrameter, a foot comprised of one stressed followed by an unstressed syllable. Almost every line of the piece is terminated with end rhyme with occasional oblique rhyme as in lines 16 & 17 “call & prodigal” and eye rhyme in lines 18 & 21 “wooed & neighborhood”. The poem has no set style; a Cinquain five line stanza, a Sestet six line stanza, three Couplets, a Quatrain four line stanza, a Couplet, two non-rhyming lines, a Tercet three line stanza, another Couplet, finished with another
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