Leaves of Grass is a collection of poems by American poet, Walt Whitman. Written between 1855 and 1892, the poems are divided into three main sections—Calamus, Children of Adam, and Songs of Parting—and cover topics such as nature, love, death and mortality.
Nature is a consistent theme throughout Leaves of Grass, with Whitman often using it as a way to explore larger themes such as love and mortality.
Love is another major theme explored in Leaves of Grass. In “A Noiseless Patient Spider” for instance, the speaker uses imagery to compare himself to an arachnid searching for its mate while exploring loneliness and longing.
Finally death is an ever-present theme throughout Leaves Of Grass with many poems focusing on mortality itself or on its effects on people throughout their lives. Poems such as “O Captain! My Captain!” reflect these ideas through imagery that equates accepting death with sailing off into a new world or beginning anew after a journey has ended. Other examples include “This Compost” which explores decomposition in relation to human life cycles or even poem such as “The Sleepers” which briefly discusses what happens after death.
As both a reflection on life’s impermanence and a celebration of its beauty this collection has inspired generations since its initial publication over 150 years ago making it an essential part of any student’s literary education when studying American literature from this period in time.