Art Works Blog

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln!

Washington, DC

Image by Beth Schlenoff from 2008 event celebrating Abraham Lincoln and poetry

Abraham Lincoln was a great admirer of poetry, and it's not surprising that during his lifetime---and especially after his 1865 assassination---that he inspired (and continues to inspire) the nation's poets. In the fall of 2008, in anticipation of the Lincoln bicentennial, we hosted an evening of poetry dedicated to the late president's legacy. In the program for that event, Eileen Mackevich and Jennifer Rosenfeld of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission wrote:

Lincoln loved poetry. It was his political primer. It salved the wounds of war. It helped him express grief at the loss of loved ones. Years after the deaths of his mother, his sister, and his first love Ann Rutledge, Lincoln found the words of William Knox’s "Mortality" expressed what he could not. He noted, “I would give all I am worth, and go in debt, to be able to write so fine a piece as this is.”

What better way to celebrate Lincoln's birthday (on February 12) than with a handful of poems about our 16th president.

"Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" by Vachel Lindsay

"Knucks" by Carl Sandburg

"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" by Walt Whitman

"Lincoln Monument: Washington" by Langston Hughes

"The Fifth Fact" by Sarah Browning

For more on Abraham Lincoln and poetry, visit the Library of Congress Web Guide to Abraham Lincoln and Poetry.



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