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Extended Audio Sample Leaves of Grass Audiobook, by Walt Whitman Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (37,376 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Walt Whitman Narrator: Robin Field Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2009 ISBN: 9781455194438
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One of the great innovative figures in American letters, Walt Whitman created a daring new kind of poetry that became a major force in world literature. His poems have been woven into the very fabric of the American character and have continued to provide inspiration to people and poets for generations.

Leaves of Grass is Whitman’s masterpiece, written in a pure, uninhibited style and combining sensual and mystical sensibilities. Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose essay “The Poet” inspired the work, praised it, saying “I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom America has yet contributed.” Self-published in 1855, it was repeatedly expanded and revised by Whitman throughout the rest of his life. This recording follows the final, most complete edition which appeared in 1892, the year of Whitmans death.

Among the poems in the collection are “Song of Myself,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” Whitman’s elegy to the assassinated president Abraham Lincoln.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Not only the single greatest poetic triumph to emerge from Transcendentalism but also the first collection of poetry uniquely American in vision, voice, form, and substance.”

    Masterpieces of World Literature

  • Leaves of Grass is a good choice to listen to while cooking, cleaning, gardening, or doing other chores that require rhythmic repetitive motion and leave your mind free to wander. Walt Whitman’s reverence for the marvelous and the majestic, and his explorations of life’s mysteries, can bring another dimension to any mundane task. But it requires concentration to follow along closely to poem after poem, despite Robin Field’s pleasing voice and astute interpretations. This volume, however, can be listened to repeatedly, as Field brings new life to Whitman’s poems with his intelligent emphasis and emotion. And when Field recites a particularly resonant phrase at just the right time, the moment can turn into song.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alyssa | 2/17/2014

    " "Grass" rhymes with something that this obscenely long and craptacular "classic" poem can kiss. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 2/11/2014

    " My honest admission: I didn't read every poem. But after years of not having read Whitman, I enjoyed his poetry greatly. I think I'm so drawn to the narrative thread that I often have trouble reading books of poetry. Just me, I guess. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve Njavro | 2/4/2014

    " Tis is true love of life, liberty and the Dream of America. Deep in meaning and full of joy, sadness and an honest perception of life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jediraven | 2/3/2014

    " It was a tedious read because I didn't know many of the words, but as I went through I actually looked them up and wrote them down in the back few blank pages. He really has an appreciation for everything in here, and now that I've read I'm a bit sad that most people don't take the time to appreciate and admire things, especially in ourselves and nature. If you want to read poetry with a little bit of a plot, this is a great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristianne | 2/2/2014

    " I return to this again and again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bea Van thyn | 1/30/2014

    " Read significant portions of this in fits and starts through high school and college. This one also deserves another pass. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Travis | 1/30/2014

    " Kind of had to reread this after reading Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham ... the book and man are threads through the 3 part of that book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily Jo | 1/29/2014

    " It's Walt Whitman. Of course it's fantastic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meg | 1/26/2014

    " goddamn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mariana | 1/17/2014

    " Great poetry, very American and very male. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh Rosner | 1/12/2014

    " No doubt this book is taught in first year lit and poetry classes at universities everywhere, but Whitman - just like Tolstoy's 'War and Peace' - should not be read, let alone studied, by anyone under 40. 'Leaves of Grass' is prosaic, moving, intelligent and evocative, but it needs a well-read, well-travelled mind if it is truly to be appreciated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggie Lang | 1/7/2014

    " i was an english major. read it in college. it moved me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gemini Ai | 1/2/2014

    " To tell the truth, I am just not that good to read his poems yet. PERIOD. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna Kirk | 1/1/2014

    " my first love "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kelly | 1/1/2014

    " I have never been a wholehearted Whitman fan. I think some of his pieces are brilliant, but many of them don't touch me at all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise | 12/17/2013

    " Read Sophomore Year, UNO "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rhonda | 12/3/2013

    " these poems blew me away in high school, it was my bible "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leah | 11/25/2013

    " I haven't read the ENTIRE Leaves, but most of it....Whitman is one of my faves--great imagery in his poetry. The idea of being 'untranslatable' and 'containing multitudes' and being part of everything is a gorgeous, and peaceful idea. Love you, Uncle Walt! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 L. | 10/31/2013

    " A classic, what can I say.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joan | 10/19/2013

    " Another example of great literature that I didn't enjoy. Patriotism is something I'll never be able to understand, but Whitman's poems about nature are beautiful and timeless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 10/13/2013

    " by far my favorite gay poet from the civil war era. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tinea | 9/29/2013

    " A favorite always, for his themes, his pauses, his run-ons. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marina | 8/15/2013

    " One of the best moments in world poetry..this magical book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin Bapst | 7/30/2013

    " People read their religion's sacred text....I read "Leaves of Grass". In the scope of poetry I've read, truly the best work I have *ever* read - beautiful; genius; spiritual. Every time I re-read it, I find a new line or passage to fall in love with. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dale Fisher | 6/27/2013

    " Five stars for Crossing Brooklyn Ferry alone! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsey | 6/22/2013

    " an old friend i wake in the middle of the night to talk to again, and again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jason | 6/15/2013

    " grey beard "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven Wedgeworth | 5/1/2013

    " A little too hippy for my tastes. But then again, I don't really know that much about this sort of poetry. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nathan | 3/25/2013

    " my lifeblood and constant companion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna Ives-kimpel | 12/27/2012

    " Long ago "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emmanuel Macias | 12/1/2012

    " The AP high school reading you forgot to appreciate "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth A | 10/17/2012

    " Haven't ever finished it, but I pick it up from time to time and read some, which I like very much! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shawna | 10/14/2012

    " One of my two favorite poets. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel | 9/29/2012

    " Some of the best collections of poetry ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Giovanni Pramudito | 9/4/2012

    " o captain my captain! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 5/14/2012

    " Hands down my all-time favorite poet. Read "Pensive on Her Dead Gazing." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 4/26/2012

    " I gave it my best effort, but only read about 2/3. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 3/29/2012

    " absolutely speaks to everyone of all times and possibly even louder to right now than ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 3/26/2012

    " This isn't the edition I read, but this is one of my favorite poems. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robb Menlove | 12/25/2011

    " Obligatory reading for any fan of American poetry. Old joke, but perhaps it is best understood while smoking "Leaves of Grass." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shinji007 | 12/11/2011

    " A sheer joy to read. It is a sensual, humorous, and historical ride through America during turbulent times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joy Ann | 11/8/2011

    " In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less, And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allen Johnson | 10/20/2011

    " Whitman saves the world "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patty | 10/16/2011

    " sexy, dirty, enlightening, american "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Fredrick Danysh | 10/1/2011

    " A nice collection of poems by Walt Whitman. It shows the style of the peot and contains poems of numerous topics. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Skylar Burris | 9/27/2011

    " A select few of Whitman's lines and poems touch me deeply, but for the most part I find him dull and overly verbose. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katherine | 9/21/2011

    " One of my favorite books, ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anita | 9/15/2011

    " as much as whitman is a "great" and from long island... could only swallow half of it. probably will pick up again later "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dave | 7/9/2011

    " A great way to understand the historic and social issues in the united states during the 19th century. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cortney | 6/14/2011

    " rather erotic if you are attentive to the language "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jack | 6/6/2011

    " Potentially the most profound poetry ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angelique | 5/18/2011

    " A true classic!I read this book in high school and it's as profound today is it was then. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leigh | 5/18/2011

    " Some of Whitman's more prosaic excesses don't work for me; but other parts make me cry like a child. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian | 5/10/2011

    " Leaves of Grass is short and deep and beautiful.It gave me hope and despair, affirmed and denied me, raised me up, brought me down, and leveled me out. I will certainly read it again. If you haven't yet, take the time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 5/9/2011

    " I didn't read all of it but i got the jest of it. I got to know how he wrote so i'm able to truthfully know what most of the poems are about! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 4/9/2011

    " Give me the splendid silent sun with all its beams full dazzling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ke | 4/9/2011

    " Really nice descriptions. He seems like a humble man.

    I'm not sure why he wanted to write about other cultures when he knew so little about them.

    I found it repetitive at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 4/4/2011

    " This book perpetually occupies my "currently reading shelf": when I feel callous or angry or lost, I reach for it, thumb to a random page, read whatever it says and feel at once redeemed.


    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laure | 3/26/2011

    " Sublime. La poesía de Whitman es una delicia. Tan contundente, tan poderosa... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sam | 3/26/2011

    " A quintessential American voice. He loved our Full Selves. Unabridged, always unabridged. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 3/17/2011

    " I doubt I am qualified to say anything of note about this classic, but it's a collection I am very much looking forward to rereading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zack | 3/6/2011

    " A masterpiece. In every sense of the word. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elektra | 3/2/2011

    " Ah poetry, how I love thee like leaves shedding in the fall. "

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About the Author
Author Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was the son of a carpenter. His formal schooling ended at age eleven, when he was apprenticed to a printer in Brooklyn. He spent the next two decades as a printer, freelance writer, and editor in New York. In 1855, at his own expense, he published the first edition of Leaves of Grass, which would mark him as the major poetic voice of an emerging America. Whitman would go on expanding and revising it for the rest of his life, with the final edition appearing in 1892, the year of his death.

About the Narrator

Robin Field is the AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator of numerous audiobooks, as well as an award-winning actor, singer, writer, and lyricist whose career has spanned six decades. He has starred on and off Broadway, headlined at Carnegie Hall, authored numerous musical reviews, and hosted or performed on a number of television and radio programs over the years.