Download the book Volunteers bring you 11 recordings of Old Chants by Walt Whitman. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for May 15, 2011. Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. The first edition of Leaves of Grass was very small, collecting only twelve unnamed poems in 95 pages. Whitman continued to expand the editions until the ninth and final edition of almost 400 poems.