As a poet, I know I have been equally influenced by Whitman and Dickinson.
Here are some of my favorite Whitman quotations:
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”
“I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.”
“Do anything, but let it produce joy.”
“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.”
“And your very flesh shall be a great poem.”
“Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?”
“The morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.”
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
“I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess.”
“Walt Whitman, a cosmos, of Manhattan the son,
Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them,
No more modest than immodest.
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!
Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me.
Through me the afflatus surging and surging, through me the current and index.”