Major American poet who is remembered for Leaves of Grass, Drum-Taps, and other masterpieces of free verse. His 1865 poem, "O Captain! My Captain!", was written on the occasion of the death of Abraham Lincoln.
His humanist works bridged the gap between the transcendentalist and realist movements.
His vagabond lifestyle and exquisite free-verse poems inspired the life and works of Allen Ginsberg.
He dropped out of school at the age of eleven and, to support his family, worked as a law office assistant and a newspaper apprentice.
He never married and likely had a homosexual or bisexual orientation, although his biographers disagree on whether or not he actually had relationships with men.