Walt Whitman -1819-92 - is regarded as a founding father of modern poetry. His style and range completely broke with tradition and his spiritual earthiness gave a voice to the emerging United States.
He helped wounded soldiers in the Civil war and wrote poems about his experiences. When his great book Leaves of Grass was published he was deemed obscene - subjects such as sex, love and prostitution outraged many - but his celebratory lines were too powerful to be censored.
He was the first American poet to be well known abroad and helped establish US English as a unique 'language' in itself.
He died, a venerable white bearded giant, in March 1892.
On his grave is written Walt Whitman, a kosmos.'