A Recording of Walt Whitman Reading His Poem “America”

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is one of America’s greatest poets.

Here’s a recording of him, from 1890. He’s reading from a poem called “America” which has been preserved on a wax cylinder from 1888.

The lines he’s reading can be a little hard to understand. Here’s what he’s saying:


Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love…”

I found this to have special meaning on Memorial Day weekend, when America honors her sons and daughters who have died fighting for Freedom.

This article was posted on Saturday, May 24th, 2008 at 10:23 am and is filed under America, Countries & Cultures, English, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Memorial Day, Podcasts, Poems, Poetry, Poets, USA, Walt Whitman. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “A Recording of Walt Whitman Reading His Poem “America””

  1. Paul Elverud Says:

    Information on the Whitman recording are inconclusive. If it is real, then the recording dates from 1890 where he is reading “America” written in 1888, not the other way around. If this is Whitman it is surely one of the great cultural artifacts in American history and should be heard and celebrated by everyone…

  2. Jim Hermanson Says:

    The recording of Walt Whitman–or an imposter reading Whitman’s words–had a long and interesting history.

    For a thorough examination of that history, see my blogpiece, “The Voice of the Poet?” at my website.

    I trust a link to the site will be connected to this comment?

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