When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
by Walt Whitman


We’ve got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you’ll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)

(2) Sea Level

"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is frequently taught in introductory poetry classes. We have a sneaking suspicion that poetry teachers love it because it takes not-so-subtle digs at math and science. (Can't we all get along?) Leaving that aside, the poem does not use complicated language. In fact, one of its major themes is that a fancy education isn't necessary to appreciate the wonders of the world. Whitman is always more complex than he seems (which is not to say difficult), but an average reader will have no problem plumbing the depths of this gem.

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