Walt Whitman was born in Long Island on the 31st May 1819 to Walter Whitman, a carpenter and farmer, and Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. Walt was one of eight siblings and was taken out of school at the age of eleven to start work, but he continued to read voraciously and visit museums. He worked first as a printer, then briefly as a teacher before settling on a career in journalism. He self-published the first version of Leaves of Grass, which consisted of only twelve poems, in 1855. By the time he died in 1892, and despite arousing considerable controversy, he enjoyed unprecedented international success and to this day is considered to be one of America’s greatest poets.