During the era of antebellum or American Renaissance, the two poets had developed two unique personal styles that may be compared to each other regarding the way they appealed to scholars and readers (Folsom, & Price, 2007).
The Issue of Free Verse or Formal Verse
Dickson mainly used formal verse base. Here used hymn stanzas as well as the ballad. He could also at the time use informal free verses and modern variations such as improvised punctuation, half rhymes, line shifts or even off rhymes. Whitman on the other appeared to be least formal. This is because he used free verses (Bain, 1995). However he also used other poetic structures such as parallelism, anaphora, and catalog. He also used metaphors and alliteration and other figures of speech.
Subject Matter and Characteristic Content
The work of Dickson was filled with domestic settings. He made this setting universally meaningful. In his work, he talks of everyday encounters with death. This became a universal metaphor. Whitman, on the other hand, used every day urban life of the Americans as his basic subject (Bain, 1995).
Realism or Romanticism
Dickson used both romanticism and American transcendentalism. He did not take part in the transcendentalism movement. However, he shares its interests in mythical and spiritual turns in his work (Folsom, & Price, 2007). Everyday natural images and household may be presented as realistic yet they are symbols of transcendent. Whitman was very realistic in his work of romantic poems. He paid a lot of attention to the city life, human existence details, inclusion of risqué and unseeingly subjects. He was also realistic on the issues of romantic love of nature, union, and transcendentalist mysticism.
Folsom, E., & Price, K. (2007). Re-Scripting Walt Whitman: An Introduction to His Life and Work. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.
Bain, R. (1995). Whitman’s and Dickinson’s contemporaries: An anthology of their verse. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.