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Publisher's Summary

When Walt Whitman self-published "Leaves of Grass" in 1855, he rocked the literary world and forever changed the course of poetry. In subsequent editions, Whitman continued to revise and expand his poems - but none matched the raw power and immediacy of the first edition. This volume presents the 1855 "Leaves of Grass" in its entirety, unchanged, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous letter to Whitman.

Public Domain (P)2017 Sam Torode

Featured Article: The Best Poetry Audiobooks to Listen to for National Poetry Month


It’s a common turn of phrase that poetry is meant to be heard. Tone, pauses, cadence, and vocal inflections all serve to further the emotional pull of modern and historical poetic masterpieces. In audio, poems can be heard and enjoyed just as the poet meant them to be. Taking into account not only the words themselves but the way they are spoken, our list provides a look at the power behind a poem, celebrating those works which have touched our souls.

What listeners say about Leaves of Grass

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A brilliant classic

This brilliant piece of American literature if vibrant and relevant today. It is a positive and totally inclusive celebration of life. We are fortunate to have his reading of the 1855 first edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman himself said it should be read aloud. I recommend you give it a listen.

10 people found this helpful

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Great Poetry Marred by Mispronunciations

What three words best describe Sam Torode’s performance?

Pleasant voice and pace but far too many mispronunciations.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Over four hours of poetry should be enjoyed slowly.

7 people found this helpful

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The Reader...

Walt Whitman is a virile, energetic, almost grandiose character whose magnificent poetry breathes both deep spirituality and a profound sense of being grounded in living. He leaves most polite and precious poetry in the dust.

I’m afraid, however, that the bland, unemotional, almost monotonous narrator brings nothing of Whitman to the reading. The poems are still there to hear, but the narrator basically reads them like
a list or a contract. Rather disappointing.

4 people found this helpful

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great work, meh reader

i love Walt Whitman as a rule, and picked this as something to unwind to as i revisit familiar poems. the narrator just didn't have the cadence for poetry, it was read very much like a textbook rather than something with a natural rhythm.

2 people found this helpful

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Very dis-impassioned narrating.

If this was for the “calm app”, I’d get it, Whitman needs a confident reading, more passion! This feels like a bedtime story.

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Sam Torode’s voice beautifully conveys Whitman’s poetry

I recommend reading along with the narration, and pausing to reflect on the ideas that Whitman shares. Not only does Whitman seem ahead of his times, he seems ahead of ours as well.