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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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This is a Beautiful Book

I've finished listening to it again in two settings. This book stands up to careful attention. This is a fine book for our time. Whitman celebrates diversity of all types in his description of America. It is amazing that he would express what he did so long ago in 1855. I highly recommend this book. The reading isn't awful but it could be replaced with a better one. I hope it happens some day.

This is a beautiful book and the recording provides a solid enough performance. It is valuable as the only Audible reading of the first edition of Leaves of Grass.

10 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 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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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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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.