While Thoreau and Emerson's work and thoughts seemed quite contemporary for their time, Whitman's seems even more revolutionary. If I was given his poetry without a name attached, I would not expect it was written in the 1800's. In one instance, his poetry is filled with sexual innuendo, something that seemed very uncommon during his time period.
While some of his poetry seemed quite wordy and a bit hard to get through, I still appreciate Whitman's skill. He has a great way of using words and his poetry definitely has a romantic tendency to it.
There were definitely areas where I was a little put off by Whitman's poetry. But I can't help appreciating Whitman for the impact he had on American poetry.