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Walt Whitman: celebrating an extraordinary life in his bicentennial

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The poet’s life and works are being explored in three exhibitions in New York, the city that saw him create some of his most profound poems

In July 1855, a pair of Scottish immigrant brothers, Andrew and Thomas Rome, published about 800 copies of a book of a dozen poems at their Brooklyn Heights printing press. The title of the text, Leaves of Grass, was printed in vine-like gold letters on its rich green front cover, which made no mention of its author, Walt Whitman, a friend of the Rome brothers who had talked them into publishing his book of poetry.

Related: Walt Whitman’s lost advice to America’s men: meat, beards and not too much sex

Poet of the Body: New York’s Walt Whitman is at the Grolier Club until 27 July, Walt Whitman: America’s Poet is at the New York Public Library until 30 August and Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy is at the Morgan Library & Museum until 15 September

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