The fifty selections in The Well-Read Man Project include a single book of poetry. Different commentators define poetry differently, and some selections from the candidate list that appeared to me to be poetry were listed among the general fiction volumes. Other works that showed up in the poetry block were, from what I could tell, indistinguishable from other verse-laden works that didn’t make the poetry cut.
There are a few choices in the final set of fifty books that employ metered verse. The book listed here conforms to more common expectations of poetry, instead of long-form storytelling. (Click on a book to access its detail page.)
Leaves of Grass
by Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass went through several editions, and Whitman added poems during each release. The initial thin book of a dozen poetic samples ballooned to a sizable paperweight that contained hundreds of poems. For the project, I will choose one of the later editions to get as full an experience of Whitman’s work as possible.