Walt Whitman only attended school for a few years in Brooklyn, NY. He left school at 11 to go to work in the printing trade for the next 5 years as an apprentice. Walt founded the weekly newspaper Long-Islander. Walt Whitman was a Humanist. Walt Whitman is generally considered to be the most important American poet of the nineteenth century. He wrote in free verse (not in traditional poetic form), relying heavily on the rhythms of common American speech.