Voice of America

Walt Whitman stamp

The Postal Service will release a stamp honoring Walt Whitman — often called the father of modern American poetry — Thursday, Sept. 12.

The 32nd entry in the Literary Arts series, the stamp celebrates Whitman (1819-1892) during the bicentennial of his birth.

Whitman, who broke away from dominant European poetic forms and experimented with free verse and everyday expressions, wrote powerfully about almost every aspect of 19th-century America.

The stamp features a portrait of Whitman by artist Sam Weber based on an 1869 Frank Pearsall photograph.

In the background, a hermit thrush sitting on the branch of a lilac bush recalls “When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d,” Whitman’s elegy for President Abraham Lincoln written soon after his assassination on April 14, 1865.

Greg Breeding served as the art director and stamp designer.

The nondenominated stamp, which is good for mail up to 3 ounces, will be available at Post Offices and usps.com.