Title: New York Aurora
Author: Susan Belasco
Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.
Whitman Archive ID: per.00181
In February 1842, Whitman began writing brief articles for the New York Aurora, established in November 1841 as an "American newspaper that would concentrate on American writers and American news in contrast to what the editors saw as an undue preoccupation with European writers and news in most of the New York City newspapers. The Aurora was a daily of four pages, which sold for two cents a copy, and was initially edited by Thomas Low Nichols, a social reformer and journalist. When Nichols left the paper in February 1842, Whitman was named the editor by the publishers, who announced on March 28, 1842 that they had "secured the services of MR. WALTER WHITMAN, favorably known as a bold, energetic and original writer, as their leading editor. Whitman wrote a variety of articles for the paper on education, politics, and current events, including a brief review of Ralph Waldo Emersons lecture "Nature and the Powers of the Poet that he attended on March 5, 1842. Although Whitman did not meet Emerson at that lecture, Emersons impact on his career as a poet is widely regarded as crucial. In his review, Whitman wrote that "the business of the poet is expression—the giving utterance to the emotions and sentiments of the soul. Whitman published two poems in the Aurora but left his position as editor by late April, following disagreements with the publishers over their efforts to shape his editorials.
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