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Whitman often drafted poems and ideas in notebooks he carried in his pocket or on odd scraps of paper or bits of envelopes that he later pasted together. He revised almost everything he wrote, sometimes over and over. Many poems started as just a jotted idea, a title, or a few trial lines. The names of poems changed over time, as did the form they took when they were published in his many editions of his life’s work, Leaves of Grass. The Library of Congress holds many of these drafts, as well as poems Whitman published in newspapers and journals. The materials in this section are from the poetry section of the Charles E. Feinberg collection of Whitman materials.

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