Two of the most revered poets in American history, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, are seemingly a study in contrast. But the nature in which both nineteenth-century poets chose to lead their lives, which has deceivingly set them apart in the eyes of many historians, is actually their greatest similarity. Whitman's energetic wanderings around the United States and his informal, inquisitive disposition were directly reflected in his style of verse and subject matter. He was a self-proclaimed man of the people, larger than life, interested in breaking down social preconceptions and boundaries, using his explorations of reality and the world at large in an attempt to translate the language of the universal soul. As he was open to the world, so was his style of poetry; rambling and unconstrained, yet accessible. While Whitman's style was a mirror of his external forays, Emily Dickinson's travels into the dark inner realms echoed throughout her writings. Where Whitman blazed an ample path for the masses, the introspective Dickinson beckoned them to get lost in her spare verse. Deftly picking and choosing her words, her vivid, aphoristic style was the distillation of a life spent in solitary contemplation and experimentation with form. The common bond shared between Whitman and Dickinson was each poet's obsessive drive for self-discovery. Though both poets' explorations into meaning took them on two very different journeys, the courage required for those personal voyages was tantamount, and the resulting work was an unconventional brilliance that still exerts its influence upon American poetry to this day.