Looking Back At 'Election Day November 1884'

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Poet Walt Whitman was watching the election in 1884, and he wrote a poem called “Election Day November 1884." (Samuel Murray via Wikimedia Commons)

If you think the 2016 campaign was rough, check out the 1884 election. Democrat Grover Cleveland ran against Republican James Blaine.

Cleveland was called “Grover the Good,” but he had to endure allegations he had fathered an illegitimate child. Blaine fought charges of corruption. The poet Walt Whitman was watching, and he wrote a poem called “Election Day November 1884.”

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky about it.


Robert Pinsky, former U.S. poet laureate and professor of creative writing at Boston University. His latest book of poems is “At The Foundling Hospital.” He tweets @RobertPinsky.

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