is the background of a poet? How do poets learn to write poetry?
What role does encouragement and praise from others play in
the development of a poet? How do the pressures of the literary
marketplace shape the work of poets? This site explores two
of the most significant literary relationships in American history:
that between Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, and that
between Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Emily Dickinson. Emerson
and Higginson, both distinguished literary figures during the
1850s and 1860s, had important exchanges with Whitman and Dickinson,
young poets they wished to encourage and influence.